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5 Tips On How To Become A Better Reader

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Podcast from #MYTAUGHTYOU by Myleik Teele.

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I will be the first to admit, in 2016 (and the years before) I did not read as much as I "planned" on reading. I say planned, because, every year, I always "plan" on reading a certain amount of books or should I say I try to set a goal like 2-3 books every month. I was falling short from my goal, and I am going to assume that based on statistics I am not the only person who is/has fallen short.

Growing up, reading almost seemed like a chore for me. I used to envy the students who actually enjoyed reading and would be flipping through page after page after page, while I was still stuck in the preface, my attention totally gone somewhere far far away deep in my thoughts. "How are you guys interested in this stuff they're forcing us to read?" were my daily thoughts.

Belen reading GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
Belen reading GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

Since I saw reading as something negative and not enjoyable, I believe this has played a part in the reason that I hadn't looked at reading as an essential part of the evolution and growth of my mind.

Reading serves several benefits to living a more enhanced holistic lifestyle. It is proven that reading can help with:

  • Mental Stimulation.
  • Stress Reduction.
  • Knowledge.
  • Vocabulary Expansion.
  • Memory Improvement.
  • Stronger Analytical Thinking Skills.
  • Improved Focus and Concentration.
  • Better Writing Skills.
Belen reading GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
Belen reading GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

These are all areas of my life that I want improvement in and if reading daily (which is $FREE.99) can help me improve in these areas then hey, I'm giving it another shot. But where does one start?

How can I become a "better reader" after years of half way reading books, reading tons of blogs which are written in a more conversational manner, or just simply not reading at all. How can I undo this trauma, and not shock my brain with like an information overload?

Shel Silverstein, one of my favorite authors growing up and still!
Shel Silverstein, one of my favorite authors growing up and still!
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  • Choose Books You Are Drawn ToReading books that were forced upon me was one of the reasons I grew up not liking to read as much, so in the beginning of getting back into the groove of reading why would I force myself to read things I'm not interested in?! I WON'T. Don’t feel pressured to read what everyone else is reading. If you’re up for a serious author but a bit out of practice, ease in with a collection of short stories.I will say that you can stretch the mind a bit by getting outside of your comfort zone and reading something you aren't necessarily interested in. Give it a try, you may learn something!

 

  • Be Willing to Let GoIt's ok to abandon ship sometimes. Nothing bad is going to happen to you. There's no set rule that once you open a book you MUST finish this book....or ELSE! Many of us inexplicably feel committed to finishing every book that we start. But nothing can turn a person off reading like getting stuck with a bad book.Give each book you read a fair chance. 50 pages is my limit, which is generous. I'll give each book a start reading 50 pages to win me over. That's enough for me to get a good sense of the author and their style of writing, also i can get into the plot of the story. If I'm not head over heels in love by then, it's ok for me to put the book back on the self and give it a shot some other time.
  • E-Books, Yay or Nay?Of course there's a great debate on whether or not e-books are a good replacement for the traditional books, and I believe that it's all personal preference, as with most things. Personally, I love the feel of books. I love turning ACTUAL pages and I love having books in my home.I have collected some of my favorite books over the years, and although I don't read them over and over, I enjoy having them on my bookshelf ready for access whenever I want to read or reference it.I do have a few books that I have downloaded to my iBooks though. If I forget to bring a book along with me on a long trip, I can easily download a book to my iBooks and have some reading material to indulge in.

Reading is vital, and being a woman of color it is even more vital that I continue to grow and expand my mind in order to pass these habits onto a future generation. I want my sons and daughters to know that knowledge is power and we can be destroyed by our lack of knowledge.

Attached at the beginning of this post is a helpful podcast by my "mentor in my head" Myleik Teele, owner of CurlBox. She recorded this podcast about 3 years ago and I dug threw the archives just to find it, because this is the podcast that gave me the push to want to brush up on my reading skills to ultimately change my life. My hope is that it does the same for you, or at least spark some sort of flame to get you inspired.

She shares her 5 points on what reading does for you:

  1. Creates Confidence.
  2. Be Deliberate.
  3. Vocabulary EXPANSION.
  4. Increases Creativity. (*and then you can be your own person and stop copying)
  5. Concentration (which leads to focus which helps you conquer goals).
The Last Bookstore DTLA
The Last Bookstore DTLA

Try to do whatever you can to read more often, you just might turn this winter into a reading season that lasts a lifetime.