The Old Curiosity Spark

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A large number of adults don’t read books. I’m not talking about people who only manage to read a book occasionally, I mean people who don’t read books at all.

In the UK, schools have tried to ‘instil a love of reading’ in students. Unfortunately some schools have interpreted this as requiring students to read a set number of pages every day. And the books have been chosen to improve their reading level. The result, inevitably, is that some students now think of reading as a chore.

Adult readers may find a lack of time and mental exhaustion can cause them to give up on reading for pleasure. And once you get out of the habit of reading books, it can be hard to get back into it.

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But all is not lost. If you know a reluctant reader, or you are a reluctant reader, here are a few ideas that might help reignite that reading spark.

1 – Throw ‘reading level’ out of the window. Reading for pleasure is an entirely different thing to reading for improvement. I am an adult and I sometimes read middle grade and young adult fiction. It is not necessary for every book you read to stretch your reading capability.

2 – It’s OK to stick with what you like. If there is a particular genre, author or series that appeals, there is nothing wrong with reading just that. If you are a book-lover, it’s great to change your perspective sometimes by reading different genres and styles. 

If you are a reluctant reader, reading a book you like is better than not reading a book you don’t like.

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3 – Try a different format. Don’t like paper? Try an e-reader. Eyes tired after a hard day at work? How about an audio book?

4 – Make it a social activity. My family are currently enjoying shared reading sessions. This is when one person reads a few pages aloud, and then another takes over, with a chat at the end of each chapter.

You can bring drinks and snacks and turn it into a reading party if you like. I’ve found this method far more successful in engaging a reluctant reader than an expectation to read alone. And it’s a lovely thing to do together.

5 – Make a small mindset adjustment. Just because a person doesn’t read books, that doesn’t make them a non-reader. We all read something. Emails, websites, exam questions, reports, case studies, blogs, social media posts, instructions, forms. We are all readers. And if we can read those other things, we can also read books. Whether we currently do or not.

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Getting back into books is not a giant leap. It’s a small step with giant possibilities.

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