Improve Your Reading Habits By Creating Your Own Private Reading Journal

Reading Journal

Students, book lovers, literature enthusiasts, and aspiring writers, all have a thing in common – they all keep a book reading journal. You may ask yourself: “what is a reading journal and how can it help me?”.

While some people might think that having a reading journal is a pointless and rather childish practice, only those who’ve read enough books will understand its necessity. 

Once you’ve become acquainted with dozens of characters, it’s easy to lose track of some of the plots or mix the stories. 

But having a reading journal means you’ll always have an entry that can help you remember exactly what you need to know. 

On the other hand, WikiSummaries, SparkNotes, or CliffNotes are just a few examples of useful, one-click-away websites that provide books’ summaries. But the difference between the information you find online and the one that you keep in your reading journal is that the latter has your unique thoughts and impression about the book, the characters, and the author. 

At first, re-reading an objective perspective about the book you’ve read on the Internet doesn’t seem too inconvenient. But the truth is that we rarely stay objective while we read. Inevitably, we’ll root for some characters or we may strongly disagree with some personal perspective the author is inserting not-always-subtly in the book.

And this is what we are going to remember in the long run – how the book made us feel. 

Benefits of Keeping a Reading Journal

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies”, said George R.R. Martin in one of his novels. 

But if you learn how to keep a reading journal, you can write all the impressions and emotions you had while you read a book. After all, that’s what a reading journal is about – reliving all the emotions and the memories a book gave us. 

This is not the only advantage you’ll get if you learn how to write a reading journal. Here’s a list with a few more benefits: 

You’ll Better Memorize the Information In the Books

“What was his mother’s maiden name?”, “Where did she run when she was 15?”, “Why did the author make his characters so sad?”. This avalanche of questions can be answered simply – by writing them down in your journal. 

Anytime you need a short and clear answer, you can check your reading diary and find out everything you need to know in an instant. 

You’ll Learn Faster

Some characters, plot twists, or settings are easy to forget. Especially when the author doesn’t spend too much describing them. That’s why writing down any necessary details as you read will save you a lot of time in the end. 

Instead of re-reading a few past chapters until you find the information you need, just open your reading journal and find that answer in just a few seconds. 

This way, you can address any question you have during your reading session, refresh your memory, and learn faster what the book is all about. 

It Improves Your Reading Speed 

Knowing that you don’t have to memorize all the names and details in a book can be a great stress reliever when you read. 

Having a reading journal and writing down important ideas as soon as you see them gives you a certain freedom similar to skimming. You don’t need to read every word of a long paragraph, especially when the author is focusing too much on describing, let’s say, a bench in the park. 

Your reading diary will help you keep track of what’s indeed important and help you skip those boring, unnecessary parts. 

You Can Track Your Reading Tastes 

As you progress with your books, your reading taste changes – and that’s ok. Maybe you’ve started with some simple, short stories and now you’re reading more challenging books. Or maybe you’ve had enough of those pretentious books and now you just want to go with something easy.   

Seeing yourself making progress with your reading routine and tracking down your thoughts can inspire you to read even more. Besides, you can evaluate what you should improve about your reading habits, and you can find out tons of new, interesting things about yourself.

It Makes Your Revision a Lot Smoother

Keeping a reading diary means that you’re also organizing your thoughts. You don’t just write down random people and cities’ names – you also establish connections between all of these. This way, when you re-read your journal, you’ll remember exactly the important details and how they are related to the whole book. 

Types of Reading Journals 

The reading journal is going to be an important part of your reading routine. Thus, it’s important to choose the right one for you. You need to be excited and comfortable when you take notes. 

Here are 4 of the most popular options other book lovers use: 

1. Physical Journals 

Whether we’re talking about agendas, notebooks, bulleted journals, you have plenty of options. Combine these with some unique stationery items and you can personalize your reading journal to a T. 

2. Word Docs

If you want a more environmentally friendly option, you can choose a digital journal. And with more than 2 billion monthly active users, G Suite is the simplest one. You can write down your thoughts in Google Docs and access them from your phone anytime you want. 

3. Reading Log Websites 

On these websites, you can log your reading sessions. Plus, you can later look up the dates when you read, star ratings, or formats (audiobooks, print, ebook). Goodreads, Biblionasium, and Bookshare are just a few examples.  

4. Reading Tracking Apps 

These are the most popular, fun, and easy-to-use options. With a lot of other interesting features, you can track the books you are reading, note down important quotes and thoughts. Plus, they’re very convenient – once installed on your phone, you have access to them in an instant. One of these apps is Basmo, and later on, you’ll see how it can help you write a reading journal.  

Give Your Reading Experience
An Extra Boost With Basmo

Track the books you read, monitor the time you spend reading and keep notes on your reading habits and how it makes you feel. You can set yourself targets for the time you spend reading and you can get notified whenever you’re behind on your reading time. 

Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play

Here Are a Few Reading Journal Ideas You Can Try!

Just start by thinking about what you want to write in your reading diary. Making a template and sticking to that for every book you start is a great idea. On the other hand, every book is different, so you can choose something different every time you log into your reading journal.

You won’t write about your personal life or your day, that’s true. But a reading journal still feels like a journal. Expressing your opinions or re-writing some ideas with your own words still counts as an intimate routine. So here are a few examples of what other book lovers write about in their reading journals. 

Free Flow Write While You Read 

Free-flow writing must be one of the most relaxing and pleasant ways to write in your reading journal. There’s something that a character reminds you of? Write it down. Do you like how the author said something? Write it down. Have you found a quote that inspires you? You guessed it again – write it down. 

With Basmo, you can log in to all of these thoughts and emotions in just a few seconds: 

  1. Open the app.
  2. Choose the book you want to read. 
  3. Tap on the Start Session button. 
  4. In the Write your thoughts… section say anything you want. 

As a side note (pun intended) here’s a quick guide about how to take notes efficiently while reading

Note the Quotes You Liked 

If you don’t like to go too in-depth like in the case of free-flow writing, you can just keep it simple. Scan the quotes you’ve enjoyed and make a compilation with all of them. You can use them to motivate you to read more or inspire you in your daily life. 

All you have to do is:

  1. Open Basmo. 
  2. Start your reading session. 
  3. Right at the bottom of your screen, there is a Scan page button. 
  4. Tap on it and record all the pages you want. 

Write What You Didn’t Like And Why 

Not all books are nice and comfortable. Some books will challenge us to see things from a different perspective while others will simply annoy us. 

For these moments remember that your reading journal isn’t just for lovely, cute things. You can whole-heartedly disagree with some things and note the frustration or anger the book makes you feel. 

Write Down the Questions You’re Left with After Reading a Book

Some books leave you with more questions than you had when you started reading them. It’s a good idea to note these questions and address them whenever you want.  

After you end your reading session, Basmo will show you a pop-up screen. Here, you can choose from different emotions that summarize best how you’re feeling. Plus, the “What are your thoughts” section will appear again – just in case there is something more you’d like to mention. 

Create a Grading System to Rank Your Books

No rule says you have to read books you don’t like. Thus, creating a grading system will help you choose future books based on the ones you currently like.

After you finish your book, make a habit of rating that book. This way, you can find recommendations easier and build an exciting to-be-read books list that you’re looking forward to. 

Make a Simple List with the Name of the Author and the Title of the Book

Having a reading journal where you list only the author’s name and the book’s title is more than enough. It’s a great idea to track all the books you’re reading, and see how your reading habit has improved so far. 

When you finish a book, Basmo automatically saves it in the books-read-in-that-year collection and you can access it anytime. Once you achieve your target, the yearly reading goal gets automatically checked and you can monitor your progress. In just a few years, you’ll have an impressive collection of books and you can take a look at your reading progress – what books you’ve read, and when you used to read them. 

Besides this, you can create other collections as well to keep your book lists perfectly organized. So, here are a few more collections you can create for your reading journal: 

  • Want to read
  • Finish later 
  • Currently reading 

Keep a Collection with the Pages You Liked

If you want to enjoy the perks of a digital reading journal to the fullest, you can also screenshot the pages you liked the most and make a collection with all of them. 

There will be times when you’ll want to re-read your favorite books, but you won’t find the necessary time to do it. 

In other words, instead of spending time re-reading the whole book just to reach the moments you liked the most, you can check your reading journal and read only those parts! 

That being said

Starting a reading journal isn’t complicated, nor difficult. Most of the time, it’s just a matter of habit. Once you start doing it regularly, you’ll see that taking notes and writing your thoughts down while you read will feel like second nature to you. 

In other situations, reading journals can save a lot of time. For example, when the author decides to take a break in between volumes for several months or even years. Reviewing your notes about their previous volumes is so much easier than reading the entire saga again. 

One thing to keep in mind is that there is no right or wrong way to journal while you read. Whether you choose to stay loyal to a certain template or you’re experimenting with various styles, the most important thing is to have fun with it! 

Start your reading journal today and in one year you can revisit your notes. It’s a great way to see how much you’ve grown in just a short time, how well your reading habits have improved, and how many books you’ve managed to read!

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

Track your books, take notes, scan your favorite pages, and even gamify reading by comparing your progress with other readers and with reading statistics from all over the world. You can start feeling comfortable with reading again.

Want to give Basmo a try? It’s 1005 FREE, just like TikTok!

Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play

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