Between work, a social life, your family, television and the Internet, it can be difficult to find time to read more. Reading is important, however, for a range of reasons: It improves cognitive ability, boosts vocabulary, helps with spelling and increases general knowledge. Just having an intention to read more won’t guarantee you actually do it, though. You need an array of strategies you can implement, devising a way to train yourself to read more.
Track Your Time
You don’t need expensive training programs or software to train to read more; all you really need is a timer. Consider how much free time you have in a day, then set aside part of that time for reading. Make sure this is a feasible goal -- start small, say, 30 minutes. Each day, use your timer and read for the amount of time you set. After a week, increase your time. The increase doesn’t have to be much, perhaps an additional 15 minutes. As weeks go by, continue adding the same small amount to your reading time. Before you know it, you’ll be reading for two or three hours per day.
Track Your Page Count
Before you begin training to read more, take a week or two to measure how many pages you read on average per week. Once you’ve gotten an idea of your baseline reading amount, increase it slowly. Try to read at least an additional 5-10 pages per week. You’ll probably be able to sneak these pages into your normal schedule without too much effort. You could, for example, read when you find yourself waiting or during meals if you’re alone. Or you could try turning off the television a little earlier each day. Keep track of how many pages you’ve read each week so you can see your progress.
Take Advantage of Technology
Technology doesn’t have to be the enemy of the written word; in fact, you can use your electronic devices to your advantage. Invest in an e-reader, if you can, or use a tablet to read books. This will save you having to carry around a bulky book, and because you can put multiple books on an e-reader or tablet, you’ll always have plenty to read. You can also load books onto your smartphone so that you can read when you have a few spare minutes.
Although you might begin training to read more with excitement or enthusiasm, these can quickly wane if you don’t devise a method of rewarding or motivating yourself. These rewards don’t have to be large or expensive. You could give yourself a small treat, such as chocolate or a small gift, each time you hit a reading goal, whether this is number of pages or amount of reading time. Or, if you’re feeling charitable, donate a small sum of money to your favorite cause each time hit your target.
Reading is mainly a solitary activity, but there are social sides you can tap into to keep you motivated to read more. Join a local book club, and if your library or town doesn’t have one, start your own. Interact with other book lovers or learn more about your favorite books by joining sites such as Goodreads, PaperBack Swap or BookLamp. If you decide to participate in websites for book enthusiasts, however, be sure that your reading time isn't eaten up by surfing the Internet.
- Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images