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8 Steps to Help You Turn English Reading into a Habit

by Sep 17, 2016English

Students never enjoy completing their homework. English teachers especially, have a very hard time getting their students to keep up with their reading assignments. Studentstry to get away with reading assignments as they are difficult to test unless you assign a summary or a review writing assignment based on it.
Parents also struggle to encourage their children to read regularly. Children are always attempting to get away with the bare minimum reading, often resorting to summaries on the internet to avoid reading the actual course material assigned in the curriculum. However in the long run, this causes them more harm than good.
Why do students not want to read?
Lack of Motivation:

  • Students don’t feel motivated to read because unlike written assignments where they have to submit a paper, a reading assignment is rarely evaluated.
  • They cannot be graded or submitted so students fear no repercussions from bad grades or dissatisfied teachers.

Lack of focus:

  • Students are bombarded with an array of distractions. They have trouble with reading assignments because they lose focus.
  • Unlike a written assignment which may be completed in a span of two hours, most books require an extended period of concentration which is difficult for them to maintain.

Other alternatives:

  • Students prefer to skip out on their reading assignments because they have access to alternative methods of learning that take less time and effort.
  • If a book has a movie, students prefer to watch it instead of reading. While this seems quicker, it may be inaccurate because movies are often adapted and modified from the original.
  • Students who prefer to read summaries and reviews of books instead of the actual text are subject to similar risks of inaccuracy as not everything on the internet is correct.

Benefits of a regular English Reading habit
If you’re a student thinking about avoiding your reading assignments, think again:

  • While it may be easy to avoid reading, there are long term consequences to your actions as reading contributes to your cognitive development and comprehensive abilities.
  • Reading can be an enjoyable experience once you develop the ability to focus and immerse yourself into the story.
  • Once you start to enjoy it, it can become a source of great comfort and solace.

Here are some simple tips to develop a regular English Reading habit

  1. Create a time table:
  • Most students have busy schedules to cater to. They deal with school, extracurricular activities and homework assignments.
  • If you really want to develop a regular reading habit, you can’t just do it when you are assigned a reading assignment.
  • Work it into your schedule regardless of whether you have an assignment. The only way to ensure that you read regularly is to make time for it and put it on your schedule.
  • Don’t say you’ll read when you have time. Set aside a little time everyday for reading even if it is as little as 15 minutes every day before bed or 10 minutes before meal times or 15 minutes every morning as soon as you wake up.
  • It does not have to be very long and you do not have to finish the book in that time, but make it a habit.
  1. Carry your book with you:
  • This is the best way to make the most of your reading schedule.
  • Keep your book on you at all times and read whenever you get the chance to.
  • Treat it like a pastime, as you would an addictive Facebook game or your tendency to scroll through your Instagram feed.
  • Read in between classes, on the way to school, on the bus, in the bath or wherever you fancy.
  • You don’t have to read obsessively all the time, but carry your book around anyway so that you have the option to read should you want to.
  1. Make a book list:
  • The most daunting part about developing a reading habit is choosing a book that you will enjoy reading. The easiest way to make an intelligent choice is with the help of a neat and organized book list.
  • Make a wish list of all the books you want to read and a separate reading list of all assigned and recommended books based on your school curriculum.
  • Make it a point to alternate between both lists to ensure that you read books that you enjoy, as well as those that are assigned to you. That way you never get bored or fall behind on your lessons.
  1. Find a comfortable reading nook:
  • Choose a quiet and comfortable spot to read in. You will never enjoy reading for very long in a stiff and uncomfortable chair.
  • Some students prefer to read at their study table, but there are no rules. You may choose a cozy chair by the heater, a little sofa by the window, a corner table at a coffee shop or a favourite spot at a library.
  • If your reading nest is at home, personalize it with a chart of your booklist, book posters and other books. Make your nook as warm and inviting in order to motivate yourself to spend as much time there as possible.
  1. Avoid distractions:
  • Ensure that your reading spot is devoid of all sources of distraction. Minimize interruptions and disturbances.
  • Choose a quiet and secluded spot away from your TV, music system and phone.
  • If you’re reading an e book on your laptop, stay off the internet and all social media accounts.
  • While some people enjoy listening to music while reading, if you’re easily distracted, avoid listening to music while reading.
  • Avoid checking messages, responding to texts or phone calls while reading in order to maintain your focus.
  1. Set yourself additional goals:
  • If you are not assigned credits for reading, set reading goals for yourself.
  • Reward yourself after achieving each goal so that you feel motivated to continue reading.
  • You can blog about books you have read or give yourself little assignments to complete after reading a book.
  • For instance you could write a review on a book you have read or use the dictionary to keep track of new words you have learnt while reading a new book.
  • Sometimes it may be of added interest to you to read criticism or essays about books you have read casually or as part of the curriculum as they can benefit you and encourage analytical thinking.
  • You could read this article on how can online essays be beneficial to high school students to understand this further.
  1. Utilize your resources:
  • Another big problem that students face with reading is the fact that books are so expensive.
  • A lot of students cannot afford to buy all the books that they need or that they might want to read.
  • The best way to tackle that problem is to optimize your available resources. Go to second hand bookstores, libraries and scour the internet for free eBooks in different professional online websites.
  • Libraries are also a great way to get started if you wish to read and are unsure of where to get started.
  1. Know when to stop:
  • While there are some books you may be forced to read as part of your curriculum, there are others that you can afford to avoid.
  • Some books, no matter how critically acclaimed they are, maybe very difficult to read.
  • In order to sustain your regular English reading habit, you need to know when to compromise and give up.
  • You won’t make any progress if you get bored due to one book and give up reading altogether. Just move onto another book.
  • There’s no point in spending six months struggling to complete one book to the exclusion of all others.
  • If you feel uninspired and stuck with a book you picked up, give it fifty pages and then take a break. If it fails to arrest your attention, move onto another book and try to pick this up later.

With the help of these great tips, nothing can get in the way of your regular English reading habit. So relax, enjoy yourself and Happy Reading!