How to make reading a habit

If you’re looking to read more this year and struggling to get started, look no further! An expert shared some tips with us to help you make reading a habit.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Are you looking to make reading a habit and set goals for 2022? 13 ON YOUR SIDE spoke with a librarian about ways you can incorporate reading into your day.

23% of Americans say they haven’t read a book in the last year. This includes hard cover books, e-books and audiobooks. In addition, a study by Pew Research found people over 50 years old are more likely to be non-readers than their younger counterparts.

If you’re one of them—and want to read more—there are simple things you can do.

Steve Assarian, a business and career librarian at the Grand Rapids Public Library, gave us some tips to help you reach your reading goals.

“The first thing that’s super useful is pay attention,” he said. “So understanding that it’s harder to concentrate when you’re cold, you’re hungry, you have to go to the bathroom, like all of these different things. So just paying attention to your body and making sure that you’re in a comfortable enough position to concentrate.”

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Along with finding the best way for you to concentrate, Assarian says finding a community through a book club or other reading group may inspire you to pick up a book more often.

Keeping the book handy is another tip to make reading a habit. Assarian said he keeps a bookshelf in his dining room to make sure a book is easily within reach when he has free time.

“So one of the things I find super useful is to keep your books at hand in the same place,” Assarian said. “So if I have a free moment, bam, I’ve got the book, and I don’t have to hunt for it, I don’t think about it, I can just dip right in and out.”

Assarian also said that readers should find a format that works best for them. While an e-reader may be distracting for some people, having a dedicated device for reading may lead to better concentration for others.

RELATED: 13 READS: Teacher growing classroom library to foster students’ love of reading

In order to make reading a habit—and enjoy yourself while you read—it’s important to not compare yourself to others and read what you find interesting.

“I think if I were to leave everyone with anything, it would be no matter how you read, no matter what you want to read, no matter what your reading goals are, shame is not a good motivator,” he said. “So if it doesn’t feel good, trust your instincts. And if you trust your instincts, you’re going to have a much easier time turning yourself into a reader.”

Physical books and e-books are not the only ways to read. Assarian says audiobooks and magazines also qualify. If you’re not sure where to start, librarians at your local library can help guide you.

“We’re here, and that’s the thing where the real pleasure being a librarian is: Supporting people on their learning journey, whatever that would be, and whatever they’re trying to do,” Assarian said. “And that’s what makes it enjoyable.”

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