7 Sure-Fire Ways to Develop an Effective Reading Habit

Next to working out and eating healthy, an effective reading habit often has a spot on most people’s to-do lists or resolutions.

While a good read helps you learn, clear your mind and relax, reading is not always an easy thing to stick to.

reading habit

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…The man who never reads lives only one.

-George R. R. Martin

Poor Reading Habits; What to Avoid

In order to develop good reading habits, you first have to stop, analyze and drop the things that are preventing you from maintaining a reading habit. We are all guilty of bad reading habits at one point or another, knowingly or unknowingly.

For better apprehension, here are poor reading habits that you should avoid;

reading habit

  1. Judging a book by its cover

If you must judge a book, use the synopsis at the back of the book. Do not let a pretty, eclectic or compelling cover conclude that a book is great and vice versa. One of my favorite books’ cover is designed with just plain text; not attractive at all. You can also read the first few pages to help you decide.

  1. Reading multiple books at once

This is a reading habit I am guilty of. “I watch several TV series at once, so what’s different when it comes to books?”

The problem comes in when you take longer to finish a book, thus ending up with several pending reads. In some rare cases you can also get characters and plots mixed up, which is just wrong in so many levels.

  1. Poor reading posture

If you start reading a book and get tired after a few pages, you probably have a poor reading posture. Whether its reading while lying on the bed, standing or sitting in an uncomfortable chair, this bad reading habit not only hinders effective reading but also strains parts of your body such as the eyes, neck, limbs and spine.

You also want to make notes while reading and this could be impossible with a poor posture. Find a comfortable seat that allows you to sit straight-backed, and hold the book at a considerable angle; preferably around 60 degrees.

  1. Spoilers!

Some of us don’t like suspense. Yes, I have done this before. But if you are reading a thriller or a romantic novel, doesn’t the fun lie in the suspense? Try guessing who the killer might be as you read the book. Reading the end first just sucks out all the fun and the whole read ceases to be thrilling.

  1. Skipping pages

When you pick up a book, your goal is usually entertainment or getting informed. When you flip through pages you end up wasting your time as you might miss important information in the pages you skipped. Sometimes you have to go back and refer to the pages you skipped.

When you feel the need to flip through, chances are you are tired and it’s time to take a break. That, or you are just not into that book…which also means it’s time to let go.

  1. Ignoring hard vocabulary

Ignoring hard vocabulary may be the worst reading habit around. Have a dictionary around, use the internet; just don’t ignore a hard word. You can also note the word down and look it up later. This is how you find yourself using words like ‘adumbrate’ and people are like, “I’m sorry what?”

  1. Reading around distractions

This is not impossible, but it is among bad reading habits. You will find yourself turning pages, but after a while, the only thing you will remember is that your aunt Susan had nice stories.

For utmost productivity, find a quiet reading place, free from any kind of distractions that may hinder your full concentration.


Ways to Develop a Reading Culture

To cultivate a reading habit, try the following tips, that will ensure you read your way to a smarter and clearer future;

reading hbit

  1. Determine your reading goal

Find out and clearly state your goal for reading. This is what you aim to achieve in your reading journey. You could set a number of books that you want to have read within a specific time, say a year. Setting a goal; spiritual, academic or relationship will motivate you to read and also guarantee that you are reading for a cause.

  1. Select your favorite genres

The bad news is that you will not like every book that falls in your favorite genre. The good news is that today there is a book about everything you can possibly think of. So switch things up and expand your list. Personally, I have been finding myself reading broadly these days. Self-help books are my favorite, and with the vast number of celebrity memoirs, the list to choose from is long.

  1. Always carry a book

To start an effective reading habit, you should always have a book with you. Now, I know that sometimes you are packing lightly and a book just means extra baggage. But hey! We are living in a digital era. Most, if not all of my books are e-books. We also have audiobooks. With this you only need your phone, which I’m sure you take everywhere. So this means you can have not one, but up to 50 books all at once everywhere you go.

  1. Join/ Start a book club.

This will keep you motivated to read, simply because you must discuss it with the members of your book club. It should be noted that your book club can consist of even just two people. Having a reading partner can be fun, as you also get to hear a different perspective from your own, about the book. A book club/partner not only motivates you to read, but also ensures that you have someone with whom you are accountable to. The club can be face-to-face or online.

  1. Read for fun

It is not a punishment. Don’t read because you have to, but because you want to. Just like working out, or any other “hard” thing in life, make it fun. Take it like your favorite movie; Wait, nowadays you can also read your favorite movie, because most are based on books. Don’t string on a book for weeks if you don’t find it interesting. It is important to know when to let go.

  1. Set a daily timeline

Challenge yourself to reach your set goals. Set a specific time; say 10-15 minutes a day or 20 pages a day. This will ensure that you are consistent in your reading as you look forward to achieve your daily goal. This will also ensure that you do not read too little nor experience burnout.

  1. Make a reading list

Do research and come up with your own must-reads. Do not overdo it. Just start small and your list will get longer with time. In your list, include fun books and those that you think you should really read.


Benefits of Developing Effective Reading Habits

There are significant benefits that come with the best reading habits. From aiding memory and retention to improved linguistic skills, habitual reading guarantees that you stand out from the rest in the following ways;

  1. Vocabulary expansion

The more you read the more words you come along. While reading will ensure you have a wide range of new vocabulary at your disposal, it is advisable to look up the words and learn the correct pronunciation. Reading books alone does not always guarantee you will master correct pronunciation, so it is up to you to do some homework.

  1. Better writing skills

Like improved vocabulary, Practice Practice makes Perfect! Exposure to well-written works is bound to make one a better writer. Reading will teach you how to express yourself in writing, by analyzing different writing styles and genres.

  1. Stress reliever

It is possible to get lost in books. A good book acts as a travelling vessel and or a great source of motivation, causing you to remain calm and forget the world for a moment, which is allowed.

  1. Memory booster

Reading has been linked to lowering the chances of certain illnesses, like Alzheimer’s and dementia. This is because reading exercises your brain thus aiding memory and retention.

  1. Knowledge

Everyone knows that books are a great source of knowledge. Great people like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Mark Zucherberg all have one thing in common; they read. Adopt the reading habits of successful people and you might just be the next.

  1. Improves focus and concentration

Between social media and our everyday life, it is easy to lose your focus. When you set aside a few minutes to read and completely immerse your attention in a book, you manage to dwarf the world around you. This will in turn reflect in other areas and activities in your life, making you more productive in everything you do.

  1. Critical thinking

When you solve a murder mystery before you finish a book, or predict who gets the girl, that’s when you know you have crazy detective skills. Reading and critiquing a book gives you the ability to keenly analyze details and also equips you with problem solving abilities.

I truly hope that these tips will help you start and stick to a reading culture. So go ahead and cheat on your cell phone with a book once in a while.


52 Responses

    • Marion

      Thank you as well for reading. Good luck in developing a regular reading habit.

  1. Bianca Worthy

    I need to learn when to put the book down because I’m no longer interested. I thought I was doing well by trying to get through a book a month. You’re right though, when I’m interested, I can finish a book within two weeks at most. I do prefer audiobooks to aid in getting through readings faster. Thanks for the ways to develop and benefits to reading. Gave me a lot of perspective. What are you currently reading?

    • Marion

      Glad you found this relatable. I would tell you at least four of the books I’m reading, but since we’re dropping bad reading habits (that being one of them)… My current Read is Napoleon Hill’s ‘Think and grow rich’
      Would love to know yours as well 😊

  2. Laura

    This is a great article. I’m guilty of reading multiple books, ignoring big words, and skimming through pages too fast. I always scored low on reading comprehension tests in school because I always read faster than I could absorb the material. Reading correctly definitely teaches you to slow down, to unplug, and to treat the material with respect.

  3. Berry's Poetry Book Reviews

    Reading posture is SUCH an innocuous but important thing to think about! Great post!

  4. Naomi (Inching Forwards)

    I like this, I feel like you really covered all bases – from what’s stopping you from reading to the benefits of actually doing it. I feel inspired! I think what I need to work on is a) looking up words and b) setting a small daily reading goal. I tend to go through phases otherwise: I either read a lot or not at all. Thank you so much for sharing!!

    • Marion

      My pleasure 😊… I’m glad you found this inspiring. Good luck in getting your read on.
      Thank you

  5. Finn

    This is a great blog with loads of great info and pointers. I am guilty of reading far too many books at once and I am trying to address this! I also really like the idea of joining a book club. I am going to look into that, thank you!

    • Marion

      I am heavily guilty of the same too. Good luck and thank you for stopping by.

  6. Denise

    I love to read and enjoy suspense, mystery, and some fantasy genres. My job teaching library skills and getting kids to pick a great book is rewarding and frustrating at the same time. Most kids don’t want to read; they want to play video games. Thanks for sharing.

    • Marion

      I can imagine… Today it is easy for kids to be swallowed by technology as opposed to our time. Thank you for the read

  7. Riana Ang-Canning

    Aww I love this! I bought an e-reader in May and have been reading so much more since then. I’m still trying to develop my reading habits but I love the tips here. I’m definitely one book at a time kind of person and I like sticking to genres I enjoy. Maybe next year I’ll expand and try out some new genres!


    • Marion

      Nice… Try new ones too , you might just end up liking them as much. I was previously a fiction-only kind of girl, but I recently made a move to relationships and success genres… And I love them. After I’m done with a book I feel like a whole new person with diverse perspectives. I like that.

  8. aimlief

    Determining one’s reading goal is key! I used to say I wanted to “read more books” but it wasn’t until I sign up for Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge that I actually started reading day after day 🙂

  9. Monique

    Loved this! Reading a book ain’t that easy anymore with today’s constant distractions! Great advice.

    • Marion

      True. You just have to find a way to keep reading, because in the end, most knowledge lies in books. Thank you for stopping by.

  10. Donna

    I have improved mine after I bought a kindle. It is so easy to carry around that made me read much more!

    • Marion

      I mostly read e-books. It’s easier for me that way. Thanks for the read

  11. Sandy

    wow great tips on developing a reading habit. Understanding that the genre you chose may not always be your cup of tea but by switching it up every once in a while is great. Ive been setting up a monthly goal to read 1-2 books and so far I have been keeping it.

    Loved this post, thank you for sharing!


    • Marion

      I think switching up your genre is one way to get out of your comfort zone. Thank you for reading.

  12. Emily

    Great post! Even as a reader, there are LOT of helpful tips that you offered that I’m going to use! Especially my poor reading posture, haha. I need to work on that! And nothing good comes from skipping pages! The last time I accidentally did that was I was reading a Harry Potter book for the first time and came across an unfortunate spoiler!! It was awful. I hope your post will help more people get back into reading! It’s such a relaxing and amazing habit!

    Emily | https://www.thatweirdgirllife.com

    • Marion

      Thank you. I think even habitual readers have one or two bad habits, that’s hindering utmost effectiveness. Thank you for engaging with this post.

  13. Ellie

    Wow what a brilliant, in depth post! I am definitely guilty of reading too many books at once, I am so impatient! Thanks for the great tips ❤

  14. Katie

    As a child, I loved to read but as I got into university, I found myself reading less and less for the love of reading. I’ve recently tried to incorporate reading into my daily life because I just missed it so much! I love the tips in this post, they will definitely help me turn my reading into a habit again xx

    • Marion

      I am glad you found these tips helpful. I think I also read more as a child. You could always find me in the library. I
      With the rise of technology that just faded. But it’s good we are at least trying to get our read on. Thank you and good luck.

    • Marion

      Glad you found this helpful… Thank you, and good luck in getting your read on 😉

  15. Diamond Kelley

    These are lovely tips. I have the worst habit of reading multiple books all the time…especially with a bad posture! I really want to get back into reading, so thank you for posting all of these great tips 🙂

    • Marion

      Good luck in your reading… Thank you as well for taking your time to read this.

  16. pavel

    I have personally enjoyed going through your post because recently I did not enjoy reading as much as I used to. So having a regular routine of reading would fix it if I end up reading something I enjoy.

    • Marion

      Thank you for stopping by. Good luck with developing a regular reading routine.

  17. Casey

    My biggest issue is judging a book by its cover. I’m a total romantic and obsess over romance books (yeah, I’m one of those! lol) but the covers are almost always awful! I’ve had to stop myself several times from just skipping over the books simply because it’s not appealing. Thankfully, I’ve been getting better at this. I still have a ways to go, but have found some of my favorites are the ones with the terrible covers!

    Great ideas for readers!

  18. Chocoviv

    I always carry a book or have something in my Kindle…i don’t have unlimited or else i would have downloaded more…

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