#2 of “The Neglected Four”07/31/2015
#3 of “The Neglected Four”08/14/2015
Today’s guest blog post will help us in our journey to remove reading from “The Neglected Four”. It comes to us from Deb Rankin, aka “The Book Talk Lady.” www.BookTalkLady.com
When I was growing up my mother didn’t want me to cook (too messy), kept me from Girl Scouts (too many meetings), and wasn’t wild about swim team (early morning practice). She would always take me to the library! She was happy there, and she shared her love of books with me.
When I had children I read to them from the earliest months, and set up bedtime stories as an expected ritual. With their parents’ love of books, competitive natures, and an elementary school program that gave points and prizes for reading, my sons learned to love books in a natural and fun way. What else motivates a nine-year old boy to read Little Women but 358 points, redeemable for sporting equipment, baseball cards, and electronics? In high school each earned a perfect score on the SAT verbal exam, and I didn’t spend a dime on tutors or review courses. I credit reading for their wonderful achievements.
That’s nice. My children are grown, or I don’t have children.
Reading is good for YOU. It’s a way to care for yourself. Good readers have more financially rewarding jobs, are more likely to be promoted, and may find it easier to navigate the complexities of life because they have greater empathy for others. Through books, you enjoy distant places without the stress of travel, or fears of Montezuma’s revenge. Brain science shows that reading fiction lets us “embody” the experiences of the characters in the book. We discover ideas that help solve problems, heal pain, or give purpose.
“Literary experience heals the wound,
without undermining the privilege, of individuality.”
I read a lot on Facebook, Twitter, or HuffPo.
A 2006 study found people read web pages in an “F” pattern instead of the left to right eye movement used reading books. Online we scan for headlines or key words, and don’t take in the full message. When text is mixed with links and moving pictures we comprehend less. That’s why “Slow Reading” clubs have sprung up in several cities. Members meet to share beverages, turn off cell phones and read in silence for an hour to combat the stress and fractured attention span spawned by constant social media.
I have ADHD, which always causes trouble reading.
It varies. Some individuals with ADHD find reading calms and stills them. Others have trouble focusing on certain books, but can read with ease the stories they most enjoy. Here are some strategies that might help you enjoy reading if you have ADHD tendencies:
- Try reading for short periods, starting with fifteen to thirty minutes. Find a quiet place, and turn off phones, email notification, TV, music.
- If you don’t like a book, put it down. There’s no medal for forcing yourself to turn pages if the content is not registering.
- Keep several books going and read the one that appeals to you at a certain time. I spoke to a successful businessman who keeps four or five books in various stages of reading at all times.
- Read” through audio books.
You convinced me, so what should I do?
If you live in Wellington, New Zealand, Seattle, Brooklyn, Boston or Minneapolis look up a slow reading group. Or form your own!
- Since TV consumes about half the leisure time of Americans, you’ll need to turn off the TV to make time to read. Set a calendar reminder to turn it off at a certain time every evening. I like to read, yet I’ve lounged for hours staring at TV because I turned it on to relax for a few minutes and got stuck.
- Join a book club! Even if you only read part of the book, you learn about the rest by what others say. Or, you’ll gossip, eat, and drink. Still fun!
I can’t find books I like.
I get it. I share that frustration. Some of the online rating systems are gamed a bit, and preferences in books are personal. Try this:
- Follow your favorite authors on Twitter. You’ll know when they have new books, and hear about books they recommend.
- Get the newsletter for author events at your library and local bookstore. Go! Hear the story behind a book.
- Subscribe [shameless plug alert] to my website www.booktalklady.com by entering your email in the space on the left side of my home page. I feature books that are inspiring, fun, and thought-provoking. I film a short video reading from the book. You get to hear the author’s own words and decide for yourself what you think.
Happy reading! Sit down and rest for a bit. Let a wave of wonderful words wash over you.