Bookworms. People who love reading, who get lost in a good book for hours on end and struggle to put it down. I am becoming one of those people and I’m excited!
A more flexible schedule in this current season of life has allowed more time and space for multiple areas in my life. The main area being family time, closely followed by friend time and third, more time and space to enjoy hobbies again. One of my favorite relaxing activities to do alone is read. It’s become my norm to come home, sit on the couch and desire a “mindless” activity—usually watching TV. This isn’t bad in it of itself; however, I’ve been determined to spend my days and evenings a bit more purposefully. Don’t get me wrong- I love my weekly shows with the time and date set to record if I’m unable to watch. But I’m talking about those moments when I simply turn it on to “pass the time” or because I am simply bored. I’ve recently reignited my love for reading, a large variety of novels. In the past seven years, I finish an average of two or three books per year for enjoyment. I start the process of picking up a new book, beginning it, and then quickly find myself losing interest. That quickly correlates to stepping away from reading for enjoyment and filling my time in other ways. Since June 2016 when I took a step back from sprinting through life, I’ve finished nine books. That’s nine books in seven months compared to two or three over the course of 12 months. I’ll be the first to humbly cheer myself on for that new accomplishment 🙂 I LOVE READING!
I remember being a student in elementary and middle school, sitting through SSR: Sustained Silent Reading. Some days I enjoyed it and others, I loathed it. Being forced to sit and read…I could pass. We had reading logs and reading homework and…MORE READING. Today, I’m so grateful that reading was something I stuck with and was forced to “endure” at a young age. I also wasn’t always the best reader. I struggled with reading at even a remotely consistent pace, with phonics and pronunciation and reading comprehension. It was frustrating and limiting to the point where my parents, bless their hearts, scheduled multiple tutoring sessions to encourage growth in my reading. It was embarrassing to read out loud; to confess I had to read something two or three times before I remembered or even processed what was written on the pages in front of me. Today, I’m fortunate enough to have learned tips and tricks from so many different teachers and professors and feel blessed to not only be a better reader, but also enjoy sitting with a good book and a delightful cup of coffee, for pure enjoyment. There is always room for growth and improvement if we are willing to endure hurdles along the way.
There’s something about getting lost in a good book, intrigued by the characters and storyline. I spent years as I was beginning my career in athletic training and teaching feeling guilty about reading anything other than a textbook or a manual pertaining to an athletic training or kinesiology topic. Why would I allow myself the space to read a book for enjoyment when I should always be striving to better myself as a professional in a particular career? Little did I know that by providing time and space for reading “non-academic” books I would be directly improving myself as a person and professional. I’ve more recently allowed myself the time and space to get lost in books and it feels incredibly rewarding. I’m setting new goals for my reading and I’m almost as excited about these goals as I am for fitness or nutrition or professional goals.
I’ve read various articles about encouraging children and adults to set aside time in their busy schedules to read for enjoyment. They are articles pertaining to encouraging young (and older, too!) individuals to become life-long readers. A few years ago, an article in the Washington Post shared 5 key habits of life-long readers. Let me share them with you!
- Dedicate time to reading, regardless of busy schedules
- Confidently select books based on interests
- Share book references with friends
- Have a reading plan: look beyond the book you’re currently reading
- Allow yourself preferences based on author, genre, and topic
I think life-long readers are generally more capable of expressing themselves, both written and orally, and are stronger communicators. I’m sure there is research on that as well; however, I will not be diving into that in this post. I’m grateful for the time to read and reflect and begin writing again; I hope you might join me as well!