If you’ve ever dreamt of turning your reading sessions into epic adventures, complete with plot twists, character development, and maybe a touch of magic, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re sharing our tips on how to become a better reader 😎
Turning pages isn’t just a pastime—it’s a superpower waiting to be unleashed. So, put on your favorite reading cape, polish your glasses (or don’t; we’re not judging), grab your trusty, bookish sidekicks, and let’s embark on a journey to transform your reading game from zero to hero.
Part 1: Personalize Your Reading Experience
Picture this: the intoxicating smell of old books mixed with the soothing flavors of carefully selected teas in a space adorned with treasures of literary adventures (hello, shelfie trophies and trinkets! 👋). It is proven that a cozy space enhances one’s happiness level, and, as bookworms, we think about our dream reading nook all the time. So this is your sign from the Universe to make it real. Here are some suggestions of what we think are must-haves, but feel free to personalize this list as you like.
1. Create a Reading Nook
Pick a spot in your home and give it a complete makeover. First, you’ll need something to sit on: a comfy armchair, a bean bag you can sink into, or even a hammock if it’s feasible. Then, decorate that space with cushions, throws, and artwork. Blankets are also a must, especially in the colder seasons.
Don’t underestimate the importance of good lighting! No one wants a reading nook that’s too bright or too dull. String lights, floor lamps, or fairy lights—they’re not just illuminating your space; they’re setting the mood. And yes, dimmable lights are the real MVPs, dancing to your reading preferences.
And the pièce de résistance, your bookshelfs. Organize your books like you’re arranging a playlist. Color-coded, genre-sorted, or size-arranged—let your bookshelf sing your visual tune. You can also sprinkle in personal artifacts like photos and souvenirs for that extra flair.
2. Save Your Favorite Reading Playlists
Some books already come with their own suggested playlists (looking at you, Ana Huang 👀), but that doesn’t mean you can’t still create your own. Just make sure it matches the vibe of your preferred genre or book. Or, if everything else fails, you can stick to the good ol’ lo-fi.
If you need some ambiance sounds, you can also play some rain or ocean sounds in Bookly during your reading session (there are actually more sounds you can choose from 😉).
3. Get a Reading Companion App
Speaking of Bookly, it is also proven by our many happy users that having a reading assistant helps you read more books and overall become a better reader. That’s thanks to all the features built into the app, such as reading reminders that keep you accountable (now you can’t say you forgot to pick up a book!) and stats infographics that keep you motivated.
But don’t take our word for it; try it out for yourself!
4. Make a Reading Tea Collection
Books and teas go hand in hand; that’s a well-known fact. Earl gray, camomille, peppermint, or something more exotic, make sure you have your favorite flavors nearby in case you need something to get your mind off the mundane things and into the mood for reading. And you know what else goes hand in hand with books and tea? Biscuits! Or anything else you prefer snacking on while you’re reading.
5. Experiment with Stationery
If you like taking notes and keeping a reading journal, getting nice stationery might help you read more and better. After all, if you’re buying all these reading accessories—fancy pens, bookmarks, custom journals, etc.—you’ll want to read more to actually use them (or at least that’s what we always tell ourselves 😅).
Or, if you prefer to keep things digital, you can also save your thoughts, quotes, definitions, and more in the Bookly app.
6. Or Read in a Public Space
Some readers prefer that—whether it’s in a quiet library where everyone is busy working in silence or a busy cafe or tea house where you can tune out the noise by immersing yourself in a book.
7. Invite Friends and Family to a Reading Session or Book Club
Transforming reading into a social activity can also help you become a better reader—reading becomes a party when you turn it into a social affair! Imagine cozy book clubs, lively literary events, and reading circles that are basically bookish fiestas. It’s not just about characters on pages; it’s about vibing with fellow book enthusiasts. You dive into stories together, trade ideas, and basically have a blast decoding plots and characters.
Social reading is about building connections, discovering new authors, and turning every page into a shared memory. So, if you thought reading was a solo gig, think again! We organize book club events and readathons regularly, so if you’d like to join the next one, make sure to keep an eye out on our channels.
Part 2: Build a Personal Reading Profile
1. Understand Your Preferences
School, unfortunately, teaches us to stick with books we don’t like out of some sort of obligation, but it shouldn’t be like that. When you’re reading for pleasure, you have no one to please but yourself—so it’s perfectly okay to DNF a book and move on to a new (and hopefully better!) one. We’re all for experimenting with different genres, formats, authors, etc., but you should also know what you enjoy reading and read more of it. The more you read, the better a reader you become.
2. Build Up Your Book Collection
If you don’t have enough books you actually like and want to read, consider expanding your collection. Although this could get very expensive very fast, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways you can stay within budget:
- Visit the local library and borrow some of your favorites
- Go by your local bookstore and browse
- Ask friends and family for recommendations and borrow the books from them if they have them
- Talk to the librarian / bookshop owner; they might have interesting recommendations
- Use Libby
- Visit garage sales and vintage shops and buy books second-hand instead of new ones.
Ultimately, consider buying new books if there’s a title you really want to read but can’t find anywhere else. But keep an eye out for discounts—besides the sales period, local bookshops might give you discounts if you order books through them.
3. Adjust Your Preferences and TBR as Your Reading Evolves
As people read, their profile changes—you don’t have to stick to the same types of books just because you used to love them. Tastes evolve, and that’s okay. Imagine your reading list as a Netflix queue that’s always open for updates. Loved fantasy once? Maybe now you’re into historical sagas or some mind-bending non-fiction.
Becoming a better reader is all about going with the flow and letting your reading choices vibe with the person you’re becoming. And that To-Be-Read list? Think of it as a flexible road trip plan 😉
Part 3: Improve Your Reading Practices
1. Read All the Annotations
Annotations offer readers valuable insights, context, and explanations that enhance their understanding of a text. They serve as guides through the literary landscape, providing crucial context for historical events, cultural references, and complex passages, ensuring readers can navigate the nuances of the narrative. They clarify ambiguities, shed light on an author’s intent, and serve as educational tools, particularly in academic settings.
Annotations also facilitate literary analysis, encouraging a more critical engagement with themes and literary devices. In group discussions, annotations become conversation starters, prompting shared insights and fostering communal exploration of a text.
Whether you like discussing the books you read with other people or not, making a habit of reading the annotations whenever they’re available is important if you want to become a better reader.
2. Add Some Variety
Reading the same types of books repeatedly can lead to monotony, but the solution is simple—make sure you diversify your reading. If you’re mainly a fiction reader, consider tossing in some non-fiction to awaken your curiosity about the real world, exploring studies that delve into fascinating subjects, and savoring the thought-provoking insights found in essays. At the same time, don’t underestimate the power of poetry, with its ability to paint emotions with words and offer a different rhythm to your reading routine.
By mixing genres, you not only fend off the risk of boredom but also broaden your intellectual horizons, gaining a more holistic perspective on life’s myriad facets. So, let your reading list be as diverse as the colors in a sunset—each genre contributing its own unique hue to the canvas of your literary journey 🌅
3. Don’t Force Yourself to Read a Certain Way
For non-fiction books, it can be much easier to choose a chapter that sounds interesting rather than struggling to read them in order. Simply open the book and start reading; you’ll find ideas that resonate with you, and you’ll want to continue, eventually reading the whole book if you enjoy it. This is especially helpful if you’re in uni or college and you have books you just have to go through somehow.
4. Have a Dictionary at the Ready
Whether you’re reading in your native language or a foreign one, depending on the type of book you’re reading, at some point, you’re going to run into words you don’t know. That’s actually one of the main purposes of reading—expanding your vocabulary. In these situations, a physical dictionary or an app can be a lifesaver.
If you want to take becoming a better reader to the next level, make sure to save the new words and their explanations in Bookly or other apps that will remind you about one of these words every day so you can better remember and start using them in your sentences.
5. Take Notes the Way You Like to
Use the stationery you’ve collected, your reading companion app (✨ Bookly ✨), or any other form of taking notes. Find fragments of text that pique your imagination and write down your thoughts—they don’t have to be well-thought-out; that comes later.
Part 4: Get in the Right State of Mind
1. Prepare Your Space
Tidy up your reading nook, brew your tea, bake some cookies, dim the lights, put on the reading playlist, light some scented candles, and open your book—it’s time to read!
2. Take a Few Minutes to Meditate
If you can’t get into reading mode because your mind is wandering in a thousand places, meditating before reading can help.
In today’s world, it’s easy for our minds to be constantly racing after a full day of work. To destress, consider meditating, doing some breathing exercises, or practicing yoga for 10 minutes before your reading session.
3. Turn Reading into a Routine
Routines can achieve what motivation can’t. No one feels motivated to do something day in and day out, no matter how much they actually like and enjoy that activity, and that’s when having a routine—and sticking with it no matter what— comes in handy. And reading is no different.
Making a nice routine to read every evening at a set hour, say 9:00 PM, before bed, can teach your mind and body to expect it, thereby lowering the micro-decisions you must take before a nice reading session.
4. Let the Book Guide You
If a book or series is particularly engaging, it might become hard to put it down. As long as it’s not harmful—as in you read through the night, although you know you have to wake up early the next day—feel free to let yourself get lost in the book. Besides your nighttime routine, if you particularly enjoy a book, you can also schedule reading sessions throughout the day so that you have dedicated time for reading. Becoming a better reader is a matter of priorities, after all.
Practice Makes Perfect
Think of becoming a better reader as a quest where every book serves as a power-up, leveling up your reading speed and comprehension skills. It’s not just about flipping pages; it’s a marathon through the corridors of knowledge, transforming your brain into a literary athlete.
The more you read, the more you morph into a jockey, soaring through the pages, absorbing information at super speed, and deciphering plot twists with superhero-level comprehension. So, gear up and unleash your inner reading superhero—conquer the literary universe, one book at a time! 🦸
Don’t Forget to Keep Track of Your Reading Progress With Bookly
Whether you track your reading progress in a spreadsheet, journal, notebook, or app, just remember to do it! Bookly makes it easy to track your progress.
Bookly can help keep you accountable, track books, and improve your reading habits. 😎
And don’t forget that Bloo, your reading assistant, will always be by your side and help you improve by tracking all the 🎏books you read.