During my college days, there were times I planted myself on the couch of the local coffee shop, and read for hours. I also worked a number of jobs that allowed me to bring a book and read during the downtime. Today, with four energetic daughters at home, and a job with ever-increasing responsibility responsibilities, finding time to read is trickier. Yet, I am learning, that with a little bit of creativity, it is still possible. Here are four simple hacks I am using to read more books this year.
Reading Hack #1: Read More Books By Speed Reading
In college, I decided to teach myself to speed read. During our winter break, I purchased Remember Everything Your Read: The Evelyn Wood 7-Day Speed Reading and Learning Program and put the tools into practice. Over the course of a few weeks, I trained myself not to move backward and re-read anything–not ever! This is more difficult to do than one may think. Re-reading material I didn’t fully understand had become second nature. Yet, the author insisted that if the information was important enough, the author would return to it later.
I learned how to set a quicker reading pace with my hand, and how to read chunks of words at a time. The result was that I doubled my reading speed, and then doubled it again! Although I was reading faster–much faster–I had my doubts about how much information I was retaining. Then, the moment of truth arrived. Having forgotten about an exam, I found myself with over a hundred text-book pages to read and only an hour to spare. I decided that it was time to put my new reading tools to the test. Much to my delight, I excelled in the exam. In fact, the material from my hour of the study was so easy to recall that I continued to speed-reading strategies for every exam that followed.
This year, I’m reading more books by returning to my old speed reading habits.
Reading Hack #2: Read More Books With Audio-books
I didn’t think I would enjoy audio-books:
- “I’m the type of person who likes to feel a book in my hands.”
- “In audio-books, the authors read too slowly.”
- “The audio-book experience just isn’t the same.”
These are excuses that I used to avoid audio-books. Then, crunched for time, and on a tight budget, I took Amazon up on their two free audibles offer. Today, I am addicted. The girls and I listen to the Harry Potter series, as we drive to school. This month, Addison and I have been doing a lot of hiking. I finished Talk Like Ted, which I found engaging and highly-practical, and recently began, The Seven Rings of Marriage, by my friend Jackie Bledsoe, all while traversing up and down Iron Mountain, with little Addison bouncing happily along on my back.
Although I still enjoy the feel of a physical book, I have also fallen in love with audio-books. Listening to an audio-book is, indeed, a different reading experience–but it is also a good one. Oh, and a simple trick for authors who read too slowly–simply press the 1.5x-2x speed button in the app. Unless I’m listening to fiction, I’ll do this every time!
By the way, you can still take Amazon up on an incredible audio-book deal. Test-drive Audibles here:
Reading Hack #3: Read More Books With Rush Reader
Rush Reader is, by far, my favorite reading app. As far as I am concerned, it is the only way to read books on one’s phone. Rush Reader allows you to import PDF files, and select your reading speed. The app displays one word at a time, in large font, with the center letter of each word highlighted in red.
It’s amazing how quickly we can read when we have to. Once the pace is set, the app sticks with it. I’m up to 675 words a minute, and at this speed, most chapters are easily finished in five minutes or less–which is perfect timing for busy parents. Instead of checking Facebook, or e-mail, I use brief moments of down-time to make my way through books, one chapter at a time. The Miracle Morning For Writers, by Steve Scott and Hal Elrod, is what I’m currently engrossed in on Rush Reader.
Reading Hack #4: Read More Books With The User-Friendly Paperwhite
My final trick has been to make good use of a paperwhite e-reader. I won this device in a contest and didn’t think I would use it. Then Addison was born. The optional glow-light is easy on the eyes and makes reading a pleasure on those long nights of caring for a fussy child. Pages are turned with the swipe of a thumb, which means I am able to hold baby in one hand and read with the other. Today, the paperwhite e-reader is how I read while simultaneously feeding and rocking, two-month-old Emmalynn, to sleep. Safe Haven Marriage, by Archibald Hart and Sharon May, is my current Kindle read.
[Tweet “No matter how busy life becomes, there is always time for a good book.”]
For busy moms and dads, reading simply takes a little extra planning and intentionality. How about you? What books are you currently reading, and what steps are you taking to read more this year? I look forward to continuing the conversation, and hearing your best reading hacks, in the comments below!