Most adults don’t realise that a few years into the rat race the one thing that gets left behind is their ability to read non-work related material. Whatever your chosen profession, people are encouraged to employ a limited vocabulary to ensure swift reading and ease of understanding for native and non-native English speakers. Compound that with the fact that most jobs nowadays keep us occupied for at least 12 hours a day, and the first thing to be related to the backburner is habits like reading. Avid readers relish time with their books and tend not to pick up a book if they know they will have limited time with it. Once this habit breaks, when people pick up a book again and find that they aren’t able to read as much in one sitting as they used to.
What then can we do to get back to our beloved hobby….read on to find out.
Read Children’s Books
Children’s books are an excellent way to train your mind to read again. Classic children’s books deal with complex human emotions in clear but sophisticated language. They do not talk down to children thus making them suitable for adult reading as well. Moreover, the stories are short with clear plotlines and profound messaging thus feeling rewarding when we finish one. This feeling of accomplishment triggers our “feel-good” hormone dopamine thus gradually making the process addictive.
Personally, I find this much more relaxing than meditating before bed. Try it, you may too find it as relaxing and addictive.
One Word at a Time
The goal of being swiftly and easily understood in all work-related communication is detrimental to the process of growing our vocabulary. This can often feel frustrating to readers because heaven knows we love words. In fact, the act of reading for most readers is as much about the words as it is about the stories. So, if our schedules do not allow extensive amounts of time for diving into sumptuous stories we can at least work on our vocabulary.
The best way to do it is to go one word at a time, download an app that gives you one new word every day and take it from there. If one calibrates these apps to deliver the word-of-the-day in the morning, then one has the entire day to play with it and try it out in one’s mind. Before you know it, your vocabulary would have increase manifold!
Exercise your imagination
Once you commit to the routine of reading children’s books, begin to play with your imagination when attending to mundane tasks. Whilst on your daily commute to and from work, in the gym, walking the dog etc think of the story you read the night before and try to think of plot twists and alternative endings. If you find that to be taxing simply re-tell yourself the story in your mind. Bonus tip, try to include your word of the day in your re-telling.
Do this slowly and deliberately as if you were narrating it to someone sitting in front of you. This sharpens our mind to stories and heightens our cognitive abilities of working memory and information processing.
All else failing, remind yourself how you felt when you were engrossed in your favourite book as an adolescent and just chase that feeling…the siren song of that feeling will gradually take you back to reading.