There’s nothing quite as special as beginning a new book, where the story transports you to a completely new and exciting world. If you find reading boring, then this is probably a feeling you haven’t experienced in a long time, or ever. Whether you are overwhelmed by a pile of school or university books that you just can’t get through or you want to introduce reading to your daily routine, you’ve come across the right article. The reality is that loving to read takes practice and some material is harder to get through than others. Take a look at how you can make reading less boring and even begin to enjoy it!
📚 It stimulates the brain and can slow down mental disorders like Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
📚 It reduces stress and the symptoms of depression.
📚 You’ll gain knowledge about interesting topics.
📚 It helps expand your vocabulary and writing skills, regardless of the type of book you’re reading.
📚 You’ll improve your memory and be able to recall information faster.
📚 It can help you with better focus and concentration if you read for just 20 to 30 minutes daily.
📚 Your ability to empathise is increased when you read literary fiction.
📚 It may even help you live longer! A study of 3635 adults over 12 years found that those who read books lived 2 years longer than those who read magazines or nothing at all.
❌ You’ve given up too quickly.
✅ The reward of Dopamine release you can get from reading takes time. The gap between motivation and reward is much longer and it takes self-reinforcing to experience the same joy you might experience from other hobbies, like watching TV or playing video games.
❌ You’re distracted.
✅ Eliminate distractions! Turn off push notifications (or better yet, put your phone away entirely) and get yourself into the right headspace to enjoy your book. Often, it’s because we are preoccupied and not able to fully devote our attention to the task of reading that the material seems boring, when really the book isn’t the root of the problem.
❌ You aren’t feeling rested.
✅ Try to read when you’re feeling mentally alert! With a tired mind, even the most interesting books can feel tedious.
❌ You’re trying to read too much all at once.
✅ Break down your reading task into smaller chunks and you will soon start to feel a sense of accomplishment as you complete each section. Instead of aiming to finish the whole book quickly, have a goal of reading one chapter at a time (for example). These goals will shift based on how long the book is or how quickly you are required to finish it, if the reading is part of a school project or assignment.
❌ You can’t seem to focus.
✅ Feel like your eyes are darting all over the page? Try incorporating a visual guide to help your eyes remain focused. As you read, use your finger or a pencil to move along the text and act as a guide for your eyes. Where permissible, you can use a highlighter if you need to highlight important information.
❌ You’re struggling to consume the material.
✅ Use your imagination to fill in the blanks. Don’t just read the words, but allow yourself to visualise the imagery as you read. As a textbook describes a scientific process, begin to picture it in your mind. Better yet, you can generate a visual representation of it.
❌ You’re reading alone.
✅ Sometimes the best thing you can do is join a book club or ask for book recommendations from a friend. Reading the same material that somebody else has read means that you will have opportunities to discuss the storyline together. This experience will open you up to many more reading opportunities.
❌ Your brain is struggling to engage with written words.
✅ Some of us don’t find it easy to engage with written words (maybe because we can’t hear the voices of characters and narrators in our heads) and this can make reading seem less engaging than other activities, like watching TV. If this is you, why not try an audiobook or reading out loud. Allow yourself to be absorbed in the storytelling and once you enjoy the process, you can experiment with reading a physical book.
❌ You can’t picture the characters.
✅ Some of us find it easy to picture what we’re reading, while others just see words on the page. If this is you, why not begin by choosing a book that’s been turned into a movie? The Harry Potter books, The Hunger Games Trilogy, The Fault in Our Stars, The Devil Wears Prada or Peter Rabbit are all great examples of this. For lovers of TV shows, try reading Bridgerton or The Queen’s Gambit. Watch the trailers to get an idea of what the characters and settings are like. This should help you to better visualise what you’re reading.
👍 Understand why you’re reading the book - do you need to complete this book to finish a course at school or university? Whatever your reasons, be clear on the objective and keep this in mind. If you are mindful, you will be able to focus on the ultimate goal (for example, get a good grade in a particular subject).
👍 Adjust your mindset - consider reading material you’ve been given at school or university in the past and reflect on the books you’ve enjoyed. Often, the only time people read is when they have been forced to read books in school. Even when learners found the assigned reading interesting, the fact that they had no choice in reading it made them reading boring for them.
👍 Highlight the important parts - if the book belongs to you, grab a highlighter or pen and make note of the important bits of the book. You’ll soon be able to focus on the key elements of the content.
👍 Be ok with skimming certain parts - unless you are specifically instructed to read every word of every page, it’s perfectly acceptable to skim over some parts. Do this with discretion! Speed reading and skimming has its place, but it can take the fun out of reading a good book.
👍 Reward yourself for finishing the book - reading a particularly dull subject matter as part of a project? Set up a reward for when you finish it and this will motivate you to actually do it.
👍 Create an enticing reading environment - find a great location and time that allows for maximum concentration. For some, this is a quiet room, while others prefer a little bit of background noise, like you’d experience in a coffee shop or public library.
👍 Use the Pomodoro Method - this time management technique will create 25 minute slots of reading, interspersed by 5 minute breaks. These chunks of time will enable you to concentrate on reading (even if the material is boring) and still have small moments to indulge in distractions.
Don’t give up! Whether you are reading for pleasure or for school subjects or university courses, it takes practice to enjoy, just like most hobbies. Incorporate reading into your daily routine and continue to do it even if you don’t have any prescribed reading. You’ll feel less bored, you’ll have an improved vocabulary, and you might even live longer!