Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Guest Post: Learn To Read – For FUN! by Stefanie Nicholas

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I learned how to read when I was four years old.

When I was six, I had read every book on my childhood bookshelf (which, thankfully, my parents kept well stocked), and decided to check out my dad’s bookshelf. I read some of his books, too.

I fell in love with those books. I was reading Stephen King as soon as mom conceded I was old enough – I was probably about ten.

I was lucky. I was naturally gifted at reading, and pretty much always into reading and writing from a young age.

Unfortunately, I realize that not all kids are like me.

Maybe you’re an adult and you want to be a ‘book person’. You want to find reading enjoyable, but it feels like work to read. And because it feels like work to read, you don’t want to practice reading. It becomes a cycle.

There’s nothing wrong with not being a ‘natural’ reader. 

A lot of people have learning disabilities such as dyslexia that make reading very difficult. Some of us are very busy and have trouble finding the time, particularly when reading takes forever.  Maybe you haven’t found your ‘niche’ of books that you love. Maybe you read okay, even well, but is just is not FUN!

I think people unintentionally demonize and ostracize non-readers. I think reading is so amazing – it has taught me hands down more than any other method in my life. 

But it’s not that way for everyone, and by acting like I’m superior because I was blessed with natural reading ability, I’m discouraging readers!

Here are my tips for how to actually enjoy reading:

1. Force yourself to read every single day. 

For me, it’s as simple as breathing. But if I didn’t read for several years, like many people who have not read an actual book since school, it would be a challenging task. 

But I promise you, practicing reading will make it more enjoyable. You don’t have to read fifty pages a day. Try to find a small, manageable novel that you know you can finish.

2. Don’t be scared to read big

I know I’m directly challenging my last point, because I think both work, for different people. 

I remember an episode of the TV show Arthur where the one character hated reading. His friends tried to help him by teaching him to read picture books. In the end, he ends up plowing through Robin Hood, because it’s something he enjoys. 

If you want to take on Tolstoy, don’t let me stop you. Find what you love!

3. Join in with book culture. 

I know, I know. ‘Book people’ can be really elitist, which is something that makes me sad. But MANY readers will be happy to share the love and joy of reading with you. 

Having a friend to encourage you will help you so much. I’d recommend joining Twitter and hooking up with other bookish people, or maybe finding a Facebook group of like-minded individuals.

4. Document your progress.  

Even if you’re not a huge reader yet, what’s stopping you from starting a blog about your experience? Who knows, perhaps it will end up being a book blog! 

Start a journal, and write down how many pages you read every day. You’ll see how much faster and better you are becoming. 

I’d join Goodreads – you can start a challenge of how many books you want to read, and it’s a great place to get recommendations! Even posting a daily count on Twitter or Facebook would work. 

5. Just make sure 
you are celebrating those victories.

Keep going. It does get easier. If you never read, you will never be a reader. Same goes for writing! 

Even if it’s tough, slow, and clumsy at first, and you honestly can’t understand why people obsess over books. It absolutely gets easier, and the more you read, the faster it will happen. 

Soon you will be creating a movie in your mind with every book you read, the words jumping to life.

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Building literacy and love for reading is something I believe strongly in and want to share with as many people as I can. As a writer, blogger, and reader, words give my life so much meaning – it’s what God has given me to make my place in the world.

We readers are onto something.

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Stefanie owns, a Christian lifestyle blog for women where she shares her journey of “Perfectly Imperfect Christianity”. She also likes to discuss books and writing from a Christian perspective. Stefanie is a published poet and short story author, who dreams of publishing a full-length book! She loves meeting and encouraging other women on their journeys.

Connect with her: Bloglovin | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Blog

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Thanks for joining us today, Stefanie!
Readers: Have you struggled with this in the past? What tips would you like to give those who may struggle with reading for fun?

Would you like to write a guest post, too? 
Read the guidelines here!

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  1. Thank you so much for posting this, Tessa! I'll be sharing it around :D

  2. Great article! I agree with all the main points, as these things have shaped me into the reader I am.

    1. Thanks so much Tarissa :) I'm glad you stopped by. I definitely was blessed to know how to read pretty easily, but there were times I fell out of reading!

  3. great article.
    Some great main points

    1. Thanks so much Terri :) I appreciate you commenting!

  4. As an English teacher, I can applaud anyone who tries to encourage people to read! I was a reader my whole life as well. I used to check out so many books from the library that I couldn't see over the stack.

    1. That's wonderful :) I'm happy to see others encouraging reading as well! I was definitely the same way as you, and I hope my own children (when I have 'em) have the same love of reading I do :)

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