Remembering How to Read Like It’s the First Time Again

Homework drills all the joy of reading out of you. There’s the inevitable over-analyzing (no matter how interesting) or the pesky thought “it’s only for a homework assignment, so how can I enjoy it?”

            Life is hard. Scheduling in meals and just enough time to use the bathroom comfortably seem next-to-impossible when you have to factor in something as seemingly inane as reading into that. Reading always seems to be some sort of transitional state, doesn’t it?

            Like commuting, for example. Or, if you’re lucky enough to avoid car sickness, you read during travel. Or you read to get to sleep (another transition between consciousness and unconsciousness).

            We love stories (see how many of us all buzz about the newest movie or series that comes out on our streaming accounts or in theaters). But sometimes, reading and having to decipher those stories in your head can be headache-inducing. If you watch a movie or a TV episode or even a YouTube video, you get to pick parts you want to pay attention to, like maybe you can fast forward to the interesting scene or zone out when you’re feeling tired.

            In a book, you have only your words and your imagination. It’s draining. It can seem to be a whole lot of effort for brief reward.

            So, I read in the transitional periods. And reading for fun has to happen then, because otherwise, it seems like there isn’t any time. I read for fun and want to know what happens next. Not for a homework assignment, but for curiosity’s sake.

            And, importantly, I put the book down if it doesn’t make me happy. Because, when reading for personal reasons, we have that option (though sometimes, we forget and end up reading things we do not like at all).

            Sometimes, it’s easy to breeze through 100 pages, other times, it’s hard just to read one. But that’s okay. Be forgiving. Learning to read to enjoy it takes time and mental energy, but it feels exhilarating when it all comes together like it did the first time, when we read stories of knights and dragons and dreamt of all the things we could do with the magic of a book.