Do you remember collecting stickers for the summer library reading challenges in elementary school? What about all the hype around the scholastic book fair every fall?
Growing up, reading was always made fun for us. With challenges and events created around it to get us excited about reading the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Percy Jackson novel.
But what happened? As we grew up, the hype slowly faded, and more and more people have abandoned the hobby. In fact, approximately 20% of adult Canadians reported that they haven’t read a book in years (Nawotka, 2022). Further, approximately 48% of Canadians have inadequate literacy skills in general, averaging out to about a 3rd grade reading level.
Benefits of Reading
As you can imagine, reading boasts a multitude of cognitive benefits and can be a healthy and fun activity to include in your daily routine.
Some benefits include, but are not limited to, increased creativity, expanded vocabulary, stress reduction, improved brain connectivity and functioning, as well as the opportunity to learn new things (Cornerstone University, 2020).
How to Start Reading More
But what if I haven’t read a book in years? Where do I start? Choosing a book that’s right for you is the first, and most important, step in getting back into reading.
Moreover, finding a book that you are genuinely interested in reading is the key to enjoying the activity. If you have a genre of book that you’ve previously enjoyed reading, start exploring there. Sites such as Goodreads or Indigo allow you to sort books by genre, and will also recommend books that are currently popular amongst readers.
Goodreads is my personal favourite, as each book has a comment section where other readers can rate and review the book. Additionally, you are able to add books of interest to a “to read” shelf, so you don’t forget about them. The application also allows you to “friend” people, and see what they are currently reading and want to read.
Therefore, another great starting point for choosing a book is getting recommendations from friends that do enjoy reading. Although they may have a different taste, it can help give you ideas.
Join a Book Club!
Personally, a factor that I have found to make reading more “fun” for me, is being a part of a book club! A book club can be in person or entirely online, and involves all members reading the same book at the same time, and discussing the books together.
Book clubs bring a social aspect to a traditionally individual activity, and can be a fun way to get back into reading and have others to discuss the contents of the book with. A book club also keeps you accountable to finish the books you start!
Not only is it fun to get together and discuss books with friends or peers, but being a part of a book club has also widened my view to a greater variety of books. Many of these novels are ones that I never would have thought to read on my own.
I’ve been a part of a book club for the past five years, and over the years we have read many books across several genres. Below, I have included Goodreads links to my favourite ones!
They Both Die at the End – by Adam Silvera
The You I’ve Never Known – by Ellen Hopkins
Here Lies Daniel Tate – by Cristin Terrill
The Sun is Also a Star – by Nicola Yoon
So lets get back to that elementary school joy of reading, and make it fun for ourselves! Read books you enjoy, and make it a social activity to engage both your friends and your brain!
The Conference Board of Canada. (n.d.). Adults with inadequate literacy skills. The Conference board of Canada. https://www.conferenceboard.ca/hcp/provincial/education/adlt-lowlit.aspx
Nawotka, E. (2022, July 21). A third of Canadians read daily. Publishers Weekly. https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/international/international-book-news/article/89911-a-third-of-canadians-read-daily.html
Cornerstone University. (2020, June 25). 7 Reasons you should be reading for fun. Cornerstone University. https://www.cornerstone.edu/blog-post/7-reasons-you-should-be-reading-for-fun/#:~:text=As%20reading%20is%20a%20mental,connectivity