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Oregon Family Magazine

Ways to Work in More Reading

07/28/2022 ● By Sarah Lyons
I have loved reading since I was able to sound out the words of my Dr. Seuss book. The ability to escape my current circumstances, learn about other people’s experiences and be entertained through my love of reading fuels my passion. Busy seasons of life, parenting young children, and other circumstances may make you feel you do not have time to read as much as you would like.

A few years ago, in the middle of raising six young kids and I felt like something important was missing in my life. I realized it was that I missed reading for pleasure; and decided to make time every day for reading. Since then, I have consistently read over 100 books each year and have discovered some ways to reignite the love of reading – even for busy parents! 

Choose Wisely

Before you attempt to increase your time spent reading, consider your motivation. Are you reading for pleasure or are you wanting to learn something new? When you pick up your next read, choose wisely. Figure out what type of books you most enjoy and read those. It will be easier to move quickly through books if you like them. If it feels like a chore, you are less likely to dedicate time to reading.

Never Leave Home Without It

I always have my book with me because I read during any free time I have. If I’m in the doctor’s waiting room, the pickup line at school, or even waiting in line at the grocery store I will open my book and read. I see many people looking at their phones as they wait, instead reach for your book. A few minutes here and there really add up.

Try a New Format

I encourage you to try reading books in a different format to increase the number of books you are able to read. Use apps to read or listen to books on the go. It’s not always practical to bring a big heavy book along on your errands but e-books and audiobooks are portable and can be read on an e-reader, phone, or tablet and many are available at your local library. Audiobooks are also a great way to read more (yes audiobooks count as reading!). You can listen while you do chores, run errands, or during a commute. Audiobooks can also be sped up so you are able to move through the book at a quicker pace than traditional reading.

Turn Off the Screens

We have the blessing of technology that allows us to read on the go, but it also comes with distractions like games, texts, videos, social media, and email. Allow yourself to turn off distractions while you are reading and focus on your book. If this is a challenge, set a timer, read your book, and when the time is up you can go back to your phone and check messages. 

Set Aside Some Time

One of the best ways to make sure you can fit in reading time is to set aside a specific time. Some people may enjoy reading a few minutes before bed, first thing in the morning, during your child’s naptime, or during your lunch break. Even if it is just 15 minutes per day, you know you have reading time to enjoy each day. 

You Make the Rules

I used to feel like I had to finish every book I started. The truth is you make the rules. If a book is not working for you, you can set it aside. If a book is boring, feel free to skim passages to get to a part of more interest. Maybe the book you have chosen isn’t the right one for you or it isn’t the right time in your life to read it and that is fine. No one is giving you a grade or going to be mad if you do not finish every book you start. If you stop reading a book you don’t enjoy, it frees up time to move on to something you do.

Set a Goal

One way to motivate yourself to read more is to set goals for yourself. This could be a certain number of books you would like to read in a year or to finish a book in two weeks. You may also challenge yourself to finish a series, read every book you own, or re-read classics you enjoyed. Sometimes a library due date is a great motivator because you want to finish the book before it needs to be returned. Be realistic and set reasonable goals for yourself so you can be successful and read more in the process.

Read With Friends

Reading with a group of friends can be a great way to increase the books you've read. Join a monthly book club or start one of your own. If a book club isn’t your thing, consider doing a buddy read with one or two friends. Set a chapter goal each day and discuss in person or over text as you go. Having a friend to read with makes it more fun. If you are struggling to find someone to talk about your books with, consider joining a group on Goodreads, Facebook, or Instagram.

What’s Next?

Once a book is complete, many people struggle to figure out what to read next. This can be avoided by making a list of books you would like to read so that when you finish one you can move right into the next book without having to research, shop, or decide what to read next. 

Read Multiple Books at Once

Reading several books at once may seem counterintuitive but can actually help you read more books over time. Some people may read one physical book, one audiobook, and one ebook at the same time. Others may find that they enjoy reading one fiction book and one nonfiction book. Some may be able to balance five or even ten books at a time and read them all slowly. Give it a try and see what works for you. 

The easiest way to increase the number of books you read is simply to read more. The more time you spend reading or listening to books, the more books you will read. The only problem is, there are too many great books to read during a lifetime.