How to Read More Books (Top 5 Tips)

How to Read More Books

Reading more is a goal for many of us these days. Our lives are moving so fast and we tend to have so little time for ourselves. If you’re wondering how to read more books, it’s good to know that you’re not alone.

According to a statistic from 2019, the average young American reads 10 minutes or less per day. And since everyone is well aware of the immense benefits of reading, it’s only natural for people to wonder what they can do to read more.

So first, let’s see why reading more is a great goal and what it can do to improve your life.

What are the main reasons to read more?

There’s a bunch of reasons why reading is an amazingly beneficial way of spending your free time. From improving your health, helping you age better to even making you an overall better person, the benefits outweigh significantly the effort you would need to put in.

Reading books can do wonders for you both physically and mentally and the benefits can last a lifetime. Here’s a couple of ways in which reading can change your life for the better.

Makes your brain stronger

Recent studies show that reading has a positive impact on the way your brain works every day. It has been proven through MRI scans that a complex network of circuits and signals in your brain is activated while reading. 

Brain connectivity has been therefore shown to be significantly improved while reading (and even for days afterwards) and the intense cerebral activity and neurological paths activated through reading books help your brain stay strong, healthy and agile.

Reading improves general knowledge

Everyone knows that reading makes you smarter, right? Knowledge is power, and there is a lot of knowledge to be gathered from books. By exposing yourself to different stories, written by different people in different periods in history, you can learn a lot.

You can gain a better understanding of the world around you, how other people think or used to think in the past and by exploring the most intimate thoughts of the authors, you can live through them.

All this knowledge you get from diving into a page-turner is hard if not impossible to replace through other methods of learning. And whether you realize it on the spot or not, reading can help you be better equipped for the challenges in your own life.

It expands your vocabulary

Some of the main things you learn from books are actually new words. Sounds pretty basic and for an adult person doing fine in life, it may seem unnecessary to learn new words. If you were able to live without knowing them until now, what good can they do for you in the future?

Well, did you know that children can learn from 4000 to 12000 words per year only by reading? Similar numbers are valid for you. Expanding your vocabulary with a couple thousand words per year can do wonders for your conversational or writing skills.

And if being and sounding smart wasn’t enough, you should probably also know that a research in Spain has found a significant link between the size of the subjects’ vocabulary and delays in mental decline.

Improves writing skills

One’s ability to write top-quality material is directly proportional with their vocabulary. The equation is quite simple, the more words you know, the easier it is for you to express your thoughts and ideas in writing.

On top of this rather mathematical approach, by reading books from various authors, you can actually understand, absorb and increase your ability to reproduce different writing styles. 

Reading makes it easier for you to empathize

This one is a little less obvious and self-explanatory than the previous arguments for reading more, but bear with me.

Research has shown that reading literary fiction especially, plays a tremendous role in increasing one’s ability to understand people around them.

It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Reading stories where the inner thoughts and experiences of the characters are being explored can and will give you a better understanding of how other people perceive the world and how and why they react in certain ways to different aspects of their lives.

This level of empathy and ability to understand others is also called the theory of mind and has been explored by scientists for years now.

Helps prevent cognitive decline

Another big advocate for reading more is the fact that it can delay or even prevent age-related cognitive decline.

We all know that as we age, our brains tend to function slower. The decline of mental ability that naturally comes with old age can actually be drastically slowed down by reading.

There is actually a recommendation coming from the National Institute on Aging where among others, one of the ways to keep your mind engaged in old age is to do as much reading of books and magazines as possible.

On top of this, studies have shown to a certain extent that reading might help prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. While the studies didn’t conclusively prove that reading prevents them, they have shown that less people who read on a regular basis actually suffer from them.

Reduces stress

Another interesting aspect about reading is that it can help reduce stress. And it goes without saying that reading a nice book is a very relaxing activity. 

How effective is it in reducing stress? Well, luckily, a group of scientists from the University of Sussex have concluded in 2009 that only 6 minutes of reading can reduce stress with up to 68%. Impressive right?

Even more impressive is that other studies have shown that reading is actually 600% more effective than playing video games and 300% more effective than taking a walk in relieving stress.

Helps you sleep better

Stress and sleep have a very powerful bond in our lives and depend on each other quite a lot. Stress is one of the most common triggers of insomnia and is linked both with the sleep duration and the quality of sleep.

Since reading works wonders in alleviating stress, it’s only natural to conclude that by eliminating or reducing stress, it will help you sleep better.

On top of this, reading a book means that you’re staying away from the infamous blue light your phone or tablet emits, and it’s well known that blue light has a negative impact on your sleep. 

On top of this, reading has been also known to alleviate depression, to help extend the life of those who read more, to improve conversational skills, to boost creativity and much more. 

The interesting fact is that reading books has been found to be completely different than reading for example newspapers and magazines. The effects of reading books have a much bigger impact than reading any other material.

Want to start reading more?
Try Basmo book tracker today!

Basmo can easily help you set and reach your reading early goals. It’s super easy to use and 100% free to download, so what have you got to lose?

Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play

How to get into reading books?

For some, reading books can seem a bit intimidating at first. Looking at a couple hundred pages, knowing how many hours of reading are involved in getting through a book may seem like too big a commitment in today’s fast paced life. 

And to be perfectly honest, it’s understandable. In the past decade, we’ve trained our brains to believe that information is attainable in seconds. Google has all the answers and usually a couple hundred words read on Wikipedia can help us understand what we need to find out.

Not saying that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but we’ve taken ourselves on a path that puts distance between us and reading as an experience. We dove into the instant knowledge available online and we learned to become more focused on getting the facts than on the pleasure of enjoying the written words.

To learn how to get into reading books again, it’s a good idea to follow a couple of steps.

Choose the right books to begin with

Regardless of how old you are now, if the last book you read was back in college, it’s probably a good idea to start slow. 

Choosing the right book may make the difference between starting a nice journey towards reading more and simply giving up.

What should you look for in choosing the right books?

How easy it is to read

Not all books are written the same and some have pretty complex storylines that are a bit harder to follow. Usually most page-turners are easy to read, so maybe you can start with The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald or To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

How many pages it has

It may sound childish to choose a book by its number of pages, but bear with me and it will all make sense. Having that sense of accomplishment as early in the journey is important and can keep you motivated to keep going. It gives you the chance to enjoy the amazing feeling of closing a book right after finishing it and can help you push forward more easily.

When it was written

Choosing a contemporary author for the first couple of books you read after a long pause is also important. Reading books written in the same type of language that you speak and hear every day is a lot easier and more enjoyable at first than reading for example writings in Shakespeare’s English.

Set easily achievable goals

It may sound silly, but don’t force yourself to achieve goals that are unrealistic. You should analyze your life, take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself how much time you can afford to set aside for reading every day.

Many people start this journey with their minds made up. “I will read 100 pages every day starting January 1st”. Well… you might, but you probably won’t. 

Instead, choose a low number of pages. Let’s say 20 pages. For an average-speed reader, that can be achieved in under 30 minutes. Set a routine, try to read those 20 pages around the same time every day, or after finishing another daily task.

Here’s the trick. You will end up reading more anyway. Maybe not on your first day, maybe not on your second, but you can count on it happening at some point in the future. If you choose a good book, once it gets interesting, you won’t even count your pages anymore and you will end up reading as much as your time allows it.

Set yourself up for success with a distraction-free environment

Switch your phone to Airplane Mode, turn off the TV and close the door. Your reading time should be uninterrupted, and distraction free.

Getting phone calls while you’re in the middle of reading can be both annoying and toxic for your newly established reading routine. You get distracted, you are pulled away from all the action and sometimes it’s hard to get back into it.

While you probably won’t be able to control and keep away all the distractions, it’s still important to do as much as you can for yourself when it comes to reading. You should have a cozy room or at least a couch. 

Try to surround yourself with a pleasant environment in order to get the most out of your experience. And that way, reading will slowly transform from a chore, to a habit and later to a hobby.

How to read more books? 

Now that we explored some of the main benefits of reading and a couple of ways of getting into reading more books, let’s try to find the answer to the big question: “how to start reading more?”.

We all want to do it, and many of us get sadly drifted away from this habit. If you want to get back on the horse and start reading more books, you should probably check out the suggestions below.

Change your mindset

First of all, you should change the way you look at reading in general. It’s not a chore and you shouldn’t treat it that way. 

From a psychological standpoint it’s easy to understand why so many of us see things this way. School taught us that reading is mandatory and as soon as you put the word “mandatory” next to anything, that thing becomes less fun.

But we need to adjust our mindset to the fact that we are adults now. There is no mandatory reading list, we won’t get grades based on our understanding of the books we read. Nobody will ever ask us to write a 2000 word essay about any of the books we read.

School also taught us that once we start reading a book we need to finish it, regardless of whether we like it or not. Because it’s mandatory and you’re going to have a quiz on it later in the year. And you might fail your class.

But guess what? Do you know what adults do when they read something they don’t like? They stop reading that. Adulthood is that easy and beautiful.

So, changing your mindset is, in my opinion, the most important step towards reading more. The more you start seeing reading as an enjoyable, useful and relaxing activity, the more you will read.

Buy more books

Yes, you should buy more books if you want to read more. Have a little fun with it. Instead of forcing yourself to read more of the same books you’ve had in your house for years, go out to a library and buy 3 books you find interesting today.

You’re not the same person you were 4 years ago. So, why would you put pressure on yourself to read something you wanted to read 4 years ago and didn’t? 

On top of this, there is always a good idea to have a book handy. Whether you’re at home, on the bus or simply travelling, you should always have a book around. You never know when you have a couple of free minutes or when you suddenly feel a craving for reading.

Buy more books you like today and always keep one around.

Use reading apps

Yes, you read that right. You can actually take advantage of modern technologies to help boost your reading. Whether you use them to keep track of your reading, to purchase books or to actually read, there are a couple of apps that do wonders for your reading habits.

One of them is Basmo and if you’re wondering how to read more often, it may be exactly what you’re looking for.

This app is available both on Android and iOS devices and has a couple of features which can definitely boost your reading. 

It will help you:

  • track the books you read
  • analyze how much time you spend reading
  • keep track of your emotions while reading by allowing you to take notes and write down your thoughts and feelings
  • record reading sessions and reading habits
  • set reading goals
  • stay in line with the goals you set by getting notifications every time you miss out on your reading time
  • set reminders to read every day

We all know that one of the most important steps to become better at anything is understanding our habits and our mistakes.

Basmo can provide accurate statistics about your reading habits, giving you the most important building block for bettering yourself: knowing where you are so you can better understand where you should be.

Ready to take your reading game to the next level?
Try Basmo book tracker today!

It’s 100% free to download, so what have you got to lose?

Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play

Try different genres

You should always avoid making assumptions about your taste in books (or anything else for that matter). Try it first, decide later.

You should always have an open mind for new things. Whether it’s food, movies or books. Maybe you tried reading a horror book a couple of years ago and didn’t like it.

Try another one. 

Never remain stuck reading the same kind of novels all the time. It’s just as easy as it is toxic to get stuck in the same genre for years. Switch things around, try new books, new authors.

You can end up reading a lot more if you discover you like things you always thought you didn’t and you never know what you could be missing out on. 

Always check reading lists online

Did you know that more than 50,000 books are published every year? That’s about 1,000 per week. 

No single individual can get through that much reading. But communities can, and that is one of the most amazing things nowadays. 

People with similar interests can join communities, either on social media platforms or in other more organized ways and they can share their experiences. 

Nowadays you can find online communities about pretty much everything. You will surely find more people than you can imagine with similar reading tastes as you. 

Search online for book recommendations or tops of books in your area of interest and this will definitely stimulate you to read more so you can get through as many as possible.

Turn bad habits into good ones, like reading more

It may sound complicated, but it really isn’t. Let’s take your mobile device for example. Did you know that the average person spends close to 3 hours every day looking at a smartphone screen?

Imagine what you could achieve in terms of reading if you could hijack at least half of that time and replace it with leafing through a book.

Every time you have the urge to reach for your phone and check your Facebook feed, force yourself to grab a book instead.  It’s not going to be easy at first, but trust me, it gets a whole lot easier as soon as the action in the book gets interesting. 

As much as they come to our help, our devices can be equally toxic. So, since you already know that you have 3 hours a day to look at your phone, use that time more wisely.

Bottom line

Reading more is a great goal, nobody can deny that. And it is an easy one to achieve, as long as you do it right.

Giving up on a goal is usually a lot easier than achieving it and you can easily lose track of it if you don’t get organized.

By following the guidelines above, you will have a great chance to start reading more, especially if you also choose to use Basmo for your reading habits.

Want to start reading more?
Try Basmo book tracker today!

Basmo can easily help you set and reach your reading early goals. It’s super easy to use and 100% free to download, so what have you got to lose?

Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play

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