How To Get Back Into Reading For Pleasure

If you have to think hard to remember the last book you read for fun, you’re not alone. As students, we have plenty on our plate, and many times, that will mean a lot of required reading for class. For some of you, the thought of more reading might be enough to send you away screaming. When done right, however, reading can be a magical and enlightening experience.  

  1. 1. Figure out why you stopped

    Reading requires you to be present in the world of the character and have an active focus on the sequence of events and/or plot. Stress can definitely be a distraction. Did you suddenly have a lot more responsibilities or work to prioritize? Was it a hard time in your life? Pinpointing when and why reading fell to the wayside is a good first step.  

  2. 2. Start small and go easy on yourself

    Today’s fast-paced world has created short attention spans and high impulsivity, which are not super compatible with reading, to say the least. Rereading a book you already read or choosing an easier book to read will help ease the transition back into reading for fun.

  3. 3. Have other options available

    Who says you have to stick to reading one book at a time? Alternating between a couple of different titles, especially of differing genres (memoirs, fantasies, and mysteries for example) will guarantee that you have an option to read at all times (and no excuse for not being in the mood). Also, don’t hesitate to stop reading if you find that the genre or story isn’t your cup of tea.

  4. 4. Experiment with the medium

    There’s nothing like the feel of a physical book in your hands. However, if finding a print book turns out to be difficult, the second-best option that I recommend is borrowing a title from eBook apps like Overdrive or Libby, which are free through a vast majority of local libraries. Audiobooks are also an option, which you can even listen to on the go.

  5. 5. Set up your environment

    A cozy space is the key to a great read. Whether that means your desk, bed, couch or a spot by the window to view the snowfall or rain, there’s just something about being inside, safe from the weather. 

  6. 6. Be mentally prepared

    Voltaire, a French writer and philosopher during the Early Modern Period once said that “With great power, comes great responsibility.” This could not be more true for a story. Your eyes don’t merely follow the text, nor do your hands just turn the pages. You become immersed in the world the author has created so painstakingly that whatever the characters experience feels real.  

  7. 7. Set personal goals and make it a habit

    The focus for reading, like anything else, is a skill that can be practiced and reacquired. Being consistent is the fastest way to do this. You can make a habit of simply reading for a set amount of time, not just waiting to finish the book. 

  8. 8. Track your progress and reward yourself

    Goodreads is a great website for tracking your reading, finding your next book and much more! With the right book, the experience itself should be rewarding, but with books that may be hard to get through, indulging in your idea of fun and relaxation afterward might do the trick. Post-reading Netflix anyone?

  9. 9. Be part of a community

    Online book clubs, such as Goodreads groups are great for this. Other alternatives may include joining literature-related organizations (there are several on-campus), finding a local book club or maybe even starting your own!

  10. 10. Write instead

    If all else fails, take a stab at writing. Is there a story idea you’ve always wanted to pursue but never got around to? An issue you feel so passionate about that you’d write an essay for? This is your chance! This reverse perspective on literature might be the push you need to get out of your literary rut. And if you feel stuck, reading could get the creative juices flowing...

As J.K. Rowling has said, “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” Whether you’re hoping to get back together with reading after a long break up or simply looking for ways to improve reading capabilities and tackle that to-read list, I hope these tips come handy during the holiday season and through the new year.