This might change your life.
I’m writing to you, who had this insight. That you should read more this year. You said it, 2021 will be the year I’ll read more. But you don’t know where to start, do you? Or you tried it but it didn’t work? Maybe reading is not for you? It’s not that.
Let me help you.
You have to relearn how to read and put it in your head, once and for all, that reading is easy.
Reading is a superpower. Everyone is born with it. The only thing is that we can’t use it until we learn a few things as a kid, like an alphabet to begin with. Then we have to acquire some basic skills like phonemic awareness, phonics, and a few more words in our vocabularies than “gimme”, “mommy”, “da-da”, and “goo-goo”.
Once you grow up a little, you’re ready to read. It’s an overnight thing. With the right stimulus, one day, you wake up with a click and you’re reading.
But you know what? That click, that a-ha moment, is just us finally turning our reading mode on. The whole reading machine was already there in our brains. We just had to find the power switch and voilá. Light! Engines turning. You’re reading.
What we never realize, though, is that reading is not any different from seeing. When you look at a picture or a painting, you see colors, objects, lines, and, with that, you can perceive a whole picture in front of you.
I don’t know what you think about it but it seems a lot more complex for me to make something out of colors, shadows and lights, lines and objects and perspectives, than just looking at symbols on a flat piece of paper and see words.
However, it is easier to see the picture and the difference is in the repetition and consistency of those elements in our lives. What do you see more? Lights and colors? Or words?
Answer this. What is easier? To give a bunch of crayons to a kid or leaving them in front of a TV? Or teaching them the power of reading and make them learn how to write? I’m a parent, I’ve got two kids, I know the first one is way easier. That’s why we rely on schools.
Now, what do you think is easier for you? To watch movies or series where you see familiar things and listen to the words you hear every day or to pick a book and sit to read when it’s not a habit for you?
That is why you thought reading was not for you. We’re more comfortable with what’s familiar. If lines, objects, colors, sounds are more repeated and more consistent in our lives since we are born than words, reading doesn’t seem so easy.
But it is.
You know what I’m gonna say now. The only way to improve your reading then is by compensating that. We have to make words and sentences and stories start to become familiar and consistent in our lives. We have to read.
Repetition, by the way, is something you can find everywhere from working out to studying. How do you build muscle? By doing exercises and repetitions. How do you memorize something? Repetition. How do become better at something? Practice every day. Repeat.
The more you stimulate a skill or an activity, the more it becomes easier to do it and develop it.
Now, how do you start? From the beginning. There’s no other way. Start it as if you were a kid. Pick easy books to read at first. Books that deal with something familiar to you.
Pick books that make you feel like you CAN read. Because you can. You read messages, texts, captions, blogs, news… You definitely can read a book. And repeat, and become that avid reader you decided to become in 2021.
Right? Now go read. But first…
Between the lines…
How would you encourage a person to read more?