Everyone is a reader. If you think you are not a reader, you just haven’t found your right book yet – J.K Rowling
Yup! you read that right. That leaves you and me with an easier job of just giving you tips on how to cultivate a better reading culture now that you know that you’re already innately a reader. Cultivating a reading culture, especially as a young person is the single most important factor that will determine how successful you will be. It is not a mistake that one of the richest (and smartest!) men in the world, Warren Buffet, invests 80% of his time reading.
These tips are going to help you in this journey as you work towards finding your favourite book(s). If you are already in this journey and are currently stuck with a lousy book, consider dumping it and get an enjoyable one. Life is too short to get stuck and struggle with a boring book!
The following tips will come in handy as you work towards cultivating a reading culture:
Have a book on softcopy on your phone.
You can buy soft copy books online or ask your bookie friend to send you some. These books come in handy especially when you don’t have space in your bag to carry a hard copy! Ensure that your EBook is of the right font to avoid straining your eyes. You could also consider owning a Kindle which is a device specifically designed for reading EBooks. Instead of getting stuck in the social media addiction loop, use your phone to read instead and you’ll soon realize that you are getting smarter by the day 🙂
Set Reading Times.
Most successful people recommend that the best time is in the morning when you wake up or at night before you sleep. Choose time slots that work for you and ensure you read no matter what. You can read during breakfast, during lunch break at work or dinner if you eat alone. Better still, read while commuting to work! 40 minutes of reading in a day will change your life for the better.
Always carry a book.
Take a book with you wherever you go. Let a book be the one item you cannot leave the house without. If there is a time when you have to wait (like a doctor’s office or meet up with a friend), get your book and read. It is the best way to spend your time. This habit will boost the speed at which your reading culture will be shaped.
Set a target.
The culture of reading requires discipline. How many books do you want to read this year? I read one book per week. That is 52 books in one year for me. Set a goal for yourself and make sure you are enjoying the ride!
Make it fun!
Your reading time should be pleasurable. Have some coffee (or any other drink of your choice) or your favourite snack while reading. Sit on a comfortable chair and have a warm blanket and enjoy yourself as you indulge in your favourite read.
Use Social Media to Motivate Yourself and Others.
Make posts on social media such as Instagram and Facebook and tell them what you are reading. In this way, you will connect with other readers. They will also give you more recommendations and ensure your reading psyche is always on! Better still, take cool book photos, write book reviews and start a blog. It’s cool and free! Starting a book review blog that has a following will ensure that you always read and, your subscribers will keep you on toes!
Read fun and compelling books.
Read books that leave you laughing out loud in public. Books that leave strange facial expressions on you! Books that make you question your sanity and humanity as a whole. Even if they are not the most highly rated, read them if they are your type of thing. The goal here is to read. After you have mastered the habit, you can move to more difficult and challenging stuff.
Have a Book Store day.
Make this a weekly/monthly trip. Even daily if you like! Even if you do not buy a book every time you go there, you might bump into a fellow bookie and become best bookie friends ;-). Better still, you’ll always be aware of book discounts! Going through books that people have donated is fun as you get them for a few dollars. Cultivating this bookstore habit will also keep you motivated to read.
Make a List.
Heard of a TBR (To Be Read) list? Every bookworm has one. Have a list of the books that you intend to read. Have the list in a journal, pocketbook, Excel or Word document-anywhere! Add to the list when you get a new recommendation from friends. Cross out the ones that you have read!
Make It Social.
Join or form a book club. Just ensure that people in the club are committed to reading and finishing the book. Ensure that they push you towards the goal of cultivating a reading habit.
Give it 50.
If you get to page 50 of a book and you still feel it’s not enjoyable, dump it and move to the next one on your reading list. I used to feel guilty for not finishing a book especially if it was a recommendation by a friend. But why get stuck in a boring book? It is meant to be fun; reading is not a punishment.
After you have developed the habit of taking a book everywhere you go, move to reading it everywhere. You could also download the Kindle App on your phone and read a page or two here and there. I recently discovered that there are so many free audiobooks on YouTube! Go to YouTube, search for your favourite book and listen away!
Give yourself an interesting book name.
A lot of book reviewers on Instagram refer to themselves as bookies, booknerds, bookstagrammers, bookworms… You are what you tell yourself you are. This will make you read more!
Cool ways to Create more time to read!
- Show up early for appointments and have a little extra time to read as you wait.
- Read while you eat or as you relax in a park.
- Download audiobooks and listen to them as you drive.
- Read to your kids or younger siblings.
- Get a book in the elevator and read to avoid an awkward moment!
- Read while waiting in a long queue.
- Read in the bus or train as you commute.
Benefits of Having a Reading Culture
Reading gives you a deeper understanding of a language.
Reading novels will help you improve your vocabulary and general understanding of a language. It is important to have a dictionary (either a hard copy or an app) to use when you come across new words. If you don’t understand a certain paragraph, simply read it again while paying more attention to the intention of learning!
It is rewarding.
One feels accomplished the moment they finish reading the last page, close the book and reflect on the experience or story. Once you identify your preferred genre of books, you will not be able to stop yourself from hitting the bookshop!
Reading opens the mind.
You get to acquire new experiences and gain new perspectives. You get to understand people better when you get to learn their ways of viewing different aspects of the world. Better still, you become exposed and you end up being less judgmental. You value diversity!
Reading is fun!
You get to meet great fictional characters and create scenarios in your head that are otherwise unimaginable. Try it!
Reading reduces stress!
When you indulge in a great story, you forget all the worries you have. For the period of time that you will be reading the book, you will be transported to a different part of the world and you feel as if you’re part of the book characters’ lives. Reading will keep you in the ‘book moment’ enabling you to relax.
Fun Fact: Did you know that reading for just 6 mins in a day reduces stress levels by 68 %?
You acquire education/knowledge
Most people who have an established reading culture mainly do it to gain knowledge. The more books you read, the more equipped with the knowledge you will be to handle day to day challenges that come your way. The bits of information you collect from different materials come in handy later when challenges come your way. At the end of the day, knowledge is the best form of wealth you will ever have.
Reading gives you a serene mind and a sense of calmness.
Reading self-help books helps people suffering from mild mental disorders. For example, a lack of motivation to work hard can easily be solved by reading motivational books. Spiritual texts have been shown to bring a lot of calm to people which gives them hope for the future.
Improving one’s writing skills.
Being exposed to a variety of materials through reading exposes one to different writing styles and vocabularies. Well-written work can inspire one to write as one gains confidence in their acquired knowledge and insights.
Reading improves your memory over time.
This benefit can only be realized once you have established a reading culture. A book has characters, their likes and dislikes, backgrounds, history and many more. Keeping track of the plot-twists is also keeping your brain active. Reading often will, therefore, improve your short-term and long-term memory.
Still need more motivation? Here are a few cool quotes 😉
With a book, you’re never alone – Bisila Bokoko
To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life. — W. Somerset Maugham
You are responsible for cultivating your reading culture. You do not have to incorporate the above tips all at once. Start small, start with what you think can work for you now. With time, keep adding more reading hacks and soon, we will meet on the intellectual bench! 😉