No one can make you like reading. Teachers can give you reading homework, and parents can make you sit with a book in front of you. But only you can make yourself happy.
Here are some tips:
Don’t wait until you feel like reading to pick up a book.
Read at a time of day when you’re not too tired.
Read often. Every day.
Only commit to 20 minutes per session, although longer is usually more fun.
Go sneak off so you can be alone. Make sure there is no one around to talk to you or interrupt your thinking by making an annoying noise.
Wear comfortable clothes. Slouchy, relaxed clothes. Take off your shoes.
Have lots of books beside you. At least six. And make sure there’s some variety: some novels, some nonfiction, some picture books, so if one book starts to be a little bit boring, you can pick up another one.
Sit comfortably. Slouching helps. Lying down is even better.
Let your dog or cat lie beside you.
Eat something while you read. Eat something very delicious such as popcorn or frozen blueberries or peanuts. But make sure it’s something your pet doesn’t like.
Don’t answer when people call you. Don’t be available to anyone. There has to be part of the day when you get to be on your own. Reading time should be your ‘leave me alone’ time.
Have an open mind. Reading is much more fun if you are interested in other people and places.
Take your time, relax, let the words on the page slowly seep into your mind and make a movie for your imagination.
Stop whenever you feel like it and imagine what it must be like to be in the world of the book.
Stop whenever you feel like it to imagine what it must feel like to be one of the characters in the book.
If you get bored, quit. Pick up something else to read. Or go for a walk for awhile. Then come back and browse through your piles of books and pick something else to read. (A secret: great readers start lots of books but finish only some of them. This is really true. People who love reading like the process of reading. All those written words make their imagination come alive. Finishing a book isn’t so important, so only truly excellent books are ever finished by great readers.)
Don’t try to be too good at reading. Nothing takes the fun out of something more than trying too hard to be good at it.
Smile sometimes while you read and think grateful thoughts. You will feel happier, even though you have a book in your hands!
(And don’t forget to check out the book lists on this site. Or email Ms. Rosen to ask for suggestions especially for you!)
[This page may be copied for use with students if the following credit is provided: ©2010 Sophie Rosen.]