How to Develop Reading Habit

Do you wonder how to develop the reading habit or desire to inculcate reading habit? Relax, in this article let’s find, what are the ways to develop a sustainable habit of reading books.

develop reading habit with a neat reading space

Much of our understanding about ourselves, the world and our environment happens through reading, listening and experience. Reading and listening are the fastest way to get information as compared to experience. Between reading and listening, how much we assimilate and evaluate information depends on many factors. 

But know that whenever there is a verbal explanation of complex concepts or time to read at our own pace, the comprehension is deeper. This means developing a reading habit is very important for gaining an understanding of yourself and the world around us. So let’s find out,

Which are the different ways to develop a reading habit?

Here we are discussing recreational and informational reading. Let’s begin with kids, some of the excuses kids give for not reading are,

  • The storybook is boring.
  • I cannot understand what’s written.
  • Reading is a boring activity.
  • The book is very lengthy. It just does not end.
  • I don’t like to read aloud.
  • Do I read slowly?

The best way to bypass all these excuses is to develop the habit of reading from a very young age and make reading a fun activity.

ALSO READ: Guide to university applications to study abroad.

How to inspire reading habit in toddlers 0 to 2 years?

The best way to begin reading is even before the child learns to read. Picture talk from books, magazines, and our surroundings, helps in developing vocabulary and curiosity. Soft cloth books and board books with large pictures and just one or two words are great for toddlers. They learn to identify things and their names. Coordination between the visuals and how to say it begins at this stage. Reading aloud from Informational picture books and storybooks meant for toddlers are great to communicate with toddlers.

Watch video to find some best books for infants age 0 to 2 years

How to motivate reading habit in pre-school kids?

Picture books are a great start to develop reading habit in kids from pre-school (age 3) up to grade 1 or 2. Talking about the pictures during picture talk and reading aloud is a great way to sharpen observation skills and learning to speak about various things. Little kids learn to read by looking at the pictures as they listen to the stories.

As the children develop an interest in listening to stories, they gradually learn to recognize alphabets, numbers, words and sentences. Gradually as time passes, through picture books kids learn about themselves, others and a variety of concepts. Picture books are so attractive that even adults enjoy reading them.

How to develop reading habit in the kids age 6 to 8 years?

Growing children can start reading early reader books at around age 6 or 7 depending on their readiness. Its a great idea to subscribe to children’s magzines at this age. Kids learn multiple concepts from interesting and beautiful magazines meant for children.

Chapter books are lengthy as compared to shorter early reader books. Early readers especially have familiar words and are easy to read. Some kids are ready for reading early reader books at age 6 while others are not. Kids have a variety of reading levels and interests at this age. They must read as per their reading level and interest to have a positive attitude about reading. In chapter books, stories or informational topics are separated into a series of simple and easy to read chapters. 

How to find the right reading level?

Remember that reading has two components, identifying the words and understanding the language. The reading difficulty level of the book must match with the reading skills and comprehension level of the readers. Just few new words on each page will not threaten their reading comfort. However, five new words on a single page will make reading difficult for kids. Use graded readers for the right reading level of the child.

Which are interesting topics to read for beginner readers?

Topical books on 

  • Handling emotions 
  • Siblings
  • Friends 
  • Families
  • School 
  • Animals 
  • Birds
  • Pets
  • Funny situations
  • Experiences 

All of these and many more are interesting topics for kids. So early readers and chapter books on these themes will sustain their reading interests.

How to develop reading habit in teenagers?

Teenagers are in transition between the ages of childhood and adulthood. Read some of the measures to motivate teenagers to read. Having said that, these measures are applicable for all age groups.

Ways to create a comfortable reading corner

Creating a reading space, making a designated space for reading can be fun. Kids are excited to read in a special beautiful reading space. It can be a cosy, comfortable and fun space so children perceive reading as exciting to sit in that place and read. For young adults and teenagers, reading corner can have a comfortable reading chair in neatly decorated space with pleasant upholstery. 

high back reading chair for teenagers, men and women
High back reading chair for teenagers, women and men

The addition of a few plants, a bookshelf or a basket of selected books will further brighten up the reading corner.

Make reading a family activity

Just as watching movies is a family activity, the same way reading can be a family activity. The entire family can sit together and read one book by taking turns reading aloud. Or each member of the family can read a separate book at the same time.

Model reading as a habit

Setting an example of a regular reading habit is great for young children. Even for adults, a family member or close friend’s discussion on their reading habit can be a trigger for reading. If parents are seen reading books, then children also pick up the habit of reading books. Many young adults have the habit of creating social media posts of books they read regularly. Little children can read silently, listen to or read aloud interesting storybooks that are of their reading level. 

Relate what you read with your real life 

If you can relate the characters, situations and plot of a story to your own life or to someone you know, then the story becomes more interesting. In that case, you own the story as a reader and you feel more engaged in the story. As human beings, we crave emotional connection so when we read the conversational narrative of the author in the books we feel connected to the characters. We want to know more about what’s going to happen to them. Reading can have a therapeutic effect on the readers.

Read the genre of your liking but attempt to read a variety of genres

In non-fiction, it is the interest of the reader in the subject that will sustain reading till the end of the book. For example, you are reading the memoir of a doctor who went on a special mission to a distressed land to give medical treatment to the locals in their tragedy. If you are interested in reading this kind of literature then you will like reading it, but if the genre is not one of your favourites then you might abandon reading the full book. Every individual has a unique personality and interests.

Here are few examples of some popular genres,

Have easy access to books and magazines to develop the reading habit

Having accessible reading material will make any person pick up and browse through a magazine or a book with an interesting cover or title. Keep books in your travel bag, handbag, near your bed, in the living room, and on your balcony. So if you join a library or buy books routinely or exchange books with your friends, then there would be a constant display of new books and magazines in your surroundings. This will tempt you to pick up and read books.

 Join a book club or talk with family about the books you read 

Talking about your current book is another great way to sustain interest in reading. Passing your great reading lessons even briefly to others could add value to the listener’s life or mindset. In a family setting or a book club class, discussing what kids are reading will make them recall the story. Routinely recalling and answering strategic questions will make them mindful while reading. They can reflect, analyze and evaluate what they read, based on the questions. 

Find word meanings and understand difficult words

Often difficult words are a hindrance to reading. If you do not find the exact word meanings, then you won’t get the accurate message of the author. In that case, you start making your assumptions of the word meanings and don’t enjoy what you are reading. This is why you must find the word meanings in a physical or online dictionary. Reading can help develop vocabulary if you develop a reading habit.

Make reading part of your routine

Reading can be a calming activity during daily travels and at the day end. It can be a good option for relaxation and developing sustainable reading habits. Discuss your reads with family, friends and create a reading log on Goodreads. Make a ritual of having picture talk with little kids. Make bed-time story routine for toddlers. For all age groups, reading daily for at least half an hour will help build a relationship between books and reading.

Follow the author’s social media page for motivation to read

Find some favourite and some new author names and follow them on social media. When you witness the fan following for these authors, you will be motivated to read the author’s books.

Reduce internet time to develop a reading habit

Go to the internet only for productive work or study-related searches. Be conscious of social media usage and limit it to the minimum if you must. This way you will not only create more time for reading books but also feel fewer negative side effects of going through social media.

Take notes from self-help non-fiction books

Writing notes of lessons learnt from non-fiction books in an online notepad or paper helps in coming back to it to find the teachings of a particular book. Self-help books or self-improvement books are generally written by experts. They have years of experience and learnings behind them. 

Imagine you were to casually meet such an expert in a social setting, then you would ask few questions and get their answers. However, in a book written by an expert, you will find much more information about a variety of topics of their expertise. It takes years of learning, research and writing work to bring out a book in the market. All we need to do is read their book to get their learnings.

Buy books, join a library or take an online subscription for e-books/audiobooks

Buy books or visit the local library to read regularly. Try to read a variety of genres. Ask the librarian for book recommendations. Meet other members or friends and form a book club. Listen to audiobooks, read aloud to children and talk about what you read. If you are comfortable, conduct read-aloud storytelling sessions for kids in the local area.

Think about the benefits of reading

Good readers can,

  • Pronounce words phonetically 
  • Read in a rapid and fluent manner
  • Have better vocabulary 
  • Possess intuitive knowledge of correct grammar

If young readers have challenges and difficulties in reading then it directly affects their comprehension and academic performance. Ability to recognise words and decode their meanings, influence how much children learn from their academics.

Benefits of reading for little kids,

  • Forming simple sentences 
  • knowing the names of things
  • how to convey thoughts

Research suggests that providing ample reading opportunities to kindergarten children helps develop their reading skills and knowledge of concepts.Teenagers and adults benefit immensely from messages on the management of personal and professional life. For teenagers and adults, reading fiction is not only relaxing, but it also takes them away from all that occupies their minds. Through fiction, we realise that everyone has similar feelings and we are not alone. We step into the characters life and feel their struggles.

Make reading activity fun by including book-related activities like,

  • Summarize and retell 
  • Create a rap song or nonsense verse of a fiction story
  • Roleplay or dramatise fiction into a skit
  • Dress like bookish characters and explain your dress elements
  • Compare writing styles of two selected authors
  • Discuss the fun/favourite parts in two books you have read
  • Convey the story in a short comic strip 

Make a game of passing the parcel and ask these questions,

  • Who were the people or animals in the story?
  • What happened to the people or characters in the story? 
  • How did they solve their problem? 
  • If it’s an informational text, then ask them what the book explained? 
  • How the machine worked or how the animal lived and where? 
  • What are parts of the machine they read about? 

After each child’s answer, everybody has to do a thumbs up with a smile, irrespective of how correct the answer is. All these and many more activities will add some giggles, build confidence and comfort in communication. Planning and allocating special time for such fun times will help in making reading fun and something to look forward to. Have before reading, during reading and after reading activities that aid mindful reading.

They soon become comfortable reading and talking about what they read. It builds their confidence and vocabulary. If your child gets a book home from the school library, then have them read it aloud to you. If you find them fumbling or struggling to read, no worries, you read them the story and let them see how you read. Know this well that gradually they are going to pick up reading and read very well.

Concluding thoughts

Reading has many benefits for all age groups. Motivate yourself and others in these multiple ways to develop the reading habit. Books and magazines are our best friends. When you are alone and free, pick a useful nonfiction book / an interesting fiction novel or a magazine and read it mindfully. After reading, question yourself and find at least two things you read about. Tell it to someone or write in your diary. Begin your reading journey.

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