Are you in a reading rut?
By Megan on January 15th, 2013
In much of the research conducted on the subject, it has been said there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to children and reading. When we look at fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and even sheer enjoyment of a book, we acknowledge the fact that every child reads differently. I have been thinking a lot about this concept of what it means to be a reader, and what happens to this definition when we leave our homes or schools, places where for many, reading encouragement and support is a constant. We hear the term “reluctant reader” often in relation to young readers who may not have the confidence or skills to read at their level, or simply just haven’t caught the reading bug yet. But what about adults? What about adult readers who are proficient in reading but for one reason or another have somehow found themselves hesitant to read?
If I think about the adult readers in my life, many devour books (especially my colleagues, which comes as no surprise). Yet others, especially one friend in mind, have kept the same books on their nightstands collecting dust. My friend swears she likes to read and that she’s going to finish the book she’s been chipping away at for almost one year. But nothing has changed. When I ask her why she hasn’t finished it yet, she shrugs and says she will. After one such conversation, it occurred to me she may just be in a reading rut. I’ve been in one myself before and I’m sure many of you have as well. That said, I thought of a few ways readers can shake themselves out of a reading slump and get back into a healthy groove.
Set a time for reading. This may seem like an obvious one, but I think it’s crucial and pretty hard to do if you think about how busy we all are these days. Try to read for twenty minutes before bed to help wind down, or, if you ride the subway in the morning, pack a book.
Read a book review. Sometimes I jump into a novel I am curious about without knowing a thing about it. This is great because I have no preconceived notions, but I do find I’m more compelled to commit to reading—and finishing—a novel if I’ve read a fabulous review.
But…don’t pay attention to all the hype. Yes, it’s thrilling to read a book that everyone has been raving about. But you might feel disappointed if you suspect you’re the one person in the universe who doesn’t love a book. Sometimes blogs or magazines can make you feel like you’re supposed to totally flip over a book (hey, it’s our job), and when you’re not obsessed with it you feel like something is wrong with you. Like I said before, when it comes to reading, there is no one size fits all.
Read a terribly trashy novel. Really. Next time you find yourself in a bus terminal or train station, go to the book section of one of those little shops that sell everything from toothpaste to magazines to bad coffee. Pick up a cheesy romance novel (no offense to people who read romance novels) or a book that has a description that makes you wince or roll your eyes, and then read it. You’ll find yourself laughing, or gawking, or tossing it in the garbage, but either way, it will likely make you want to read a truly good book. There’s nothing like a bad read to reinvigorate your desire to read something of value.
Try a new genre. Maybe you tend to gravitate towards historical nonfiction, fantasy novels, or memoirs. Mix it up! You could be mistaking what you think is a reading genre preference for something you’re all too comfortable with (or frankly, bored by!)
Read with a partner. They say you’re more likely to exercise if you have a buddy to work out with. This person will support you, challenge you, and suffer next to you through those long runs or painful boot camps. Why not apply the same theory to reading? If you read with someone, you’re probably more likely to stay on a reading schedule, and best of all, you have someone to talk with about the book.
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