Make Reading A Habit | Rio Salado College (2023)

“Read more” is a very common New Year’s resolution. Many of us fall behind on reading for pleasure and for learning because we feel like we don’t have enough time, or that we’ve never developed good reading habits to make it a part of our daily routine. Now that the summer is upon us and the temperature is rising, there’s no better time than the present to stay inside, kick off your shoes, crank up your A/C, and crack open a book.

Whether you’re someone who wants to get back into the reader groove or someone who wants to learn how to become a bookworm in the first place, these tips can help you turn a new page in your reading life.

Set Daily Goals

Reading a big book can be daunting if you look at it as one hefty unit of text. Break it out into pages, chapters, etc. and it becomes much more manageable. Setting daily reading goals for yourself is an effective way of motivating yourself to make reading a regular habit. As with any good goal, the key is to pick something that is realistic and achievable. You’ll also want to decide if you want to base your goal around time spent reading or page counts. Do you want to devote 30 minutes to an hour a day reading? Or commit to reading 5-20 pages?

Something to keep in mind with page count goals is that not all books read the same. Some books have text and concepts so rigorous that you’ll need to unpack it slowly, so using a “chapter a day!” goal on a philosophy text may not be a good day. Adjust your goal depending on the kinds of books you’re trying to read.

Another tool to add to your timer: a kitchen timer. You could use the Pomodoro technique and sneak in 20-25 minute reading sessions throughout the day, using the egg timer to keep you track.

And finally: if you do the bulk of your reading at home, consider putting together a “book nook.” Creating a cozy space for you to read where you’ll be comfortable and free of distractions can help motivate you to stay on track with your reading.

You Don’t Need A Lot Of Time To Read

If you don’t have an hour to spend reading, don’t worry: that doesn’t mean you can’t still make reading a part of your routine. The trick is to fit in time to read whenever you can. There’s a reason why bathroom reading is a popular pastime! Reading can be a great way to kill time during errands. Planning on a trip to the doctor’s office or DMV? Bring a book so you have something to help you kill time in the waiting room. Going to the gym to use a stationary bike or the treadmill? You can read while you (safely) operate the machine. Taking the bus or an Uber? Commuting is a great opportunity to read if you’re a passenger; if you’re driving, consider popping in an audiobook. Looking for something to do during your lunch break after you finish eating? Fitting in a few pages before you go back to work is a fine way to unwind and stimulate your mind.

Think about the time you spend on your cell phone. How much of that time that you spend scrolling on your device could be spent getting a few pages into a new book?

Start With Appetizers Before The Main Course

When one makes a commitment to read more, it can be tempting to get ambitious and tackle a big book. While cracking open a copy of Moby Dick or War and Peace can be a very rewarding experience, it’s best to start small and work your way up. The key to developing a strong reading habit is consistency; if you read something that’s too dense or complex too early on in your practice, it could discourage you from continuing to read. Reading can and should be challenging at times, but it should also be fun!

A good way to start small is with magazine articles and short stories. Poetry collections can also be an excellent way to consume a bite-sized morsel of literature every day without having to commit to a huge text.

You Don’t Have To Read Just One Book

If you’re finding it hard to make progress on a book you’re reading, it’s okay to set it aside and pick up another. Sometimes you need to take a break from a read to give that information time to process. In these moments of contemplation and recuperation, it helps to have something else you can dive into. Try having something totally different to dip into when you switch books. Reading a science or history book? A piece of light fiction like a detective novel can be a nice way to entertain yourself in between consuming chapters full of dense technical information.

Having two or three books in a reading rotation makes it so you’ve always got something to read. Anytime you feel like you’re stalling on a read, set it aside and switch gears to keep your momentum going.

Read What You Like

We can put a lot of pressure on ourselves to read “the right books.” If reading feels too much like homework, we’re less inclined to do it. Give yourself permission to read what YOU want to read. Don’t get hung up on whether or not something is a classic or a “guilty pleasure;” if it interests you and holds the potential to entertain and/or edify, it’s worth your time.

Experiment With Formats

If you’re having trouble focusing with physical books, don’t be discouraged: consider the alternatives. Audiobooks make reading more accessible and enable you to enjoy literature while you’re on the move. Reading eBooks can also make reading a bit more convenient. Forget your book at home? That’s no problem when you have an eBook loaded up on your tablet or phone.

Graphic novels, comic books, and manga can also be quite enjoyable and mentally stimulating, as well. Studies have found that reading visual mediums like comics can actually help improve cognitive skills, as our brains tend to process and interpret visual information much faster than text.

Join A Book Club

A bit of (positive) peer pressure can go a long way. Joining or starting a book club offers you a powerful motivational tool to keep reading. Not only does the book club provide selections to make it easier to decide what you’ll read next, you’ll also be able to hear how other people experience these books. Getting those different viewpoints can illuminate your own reading experience and give you insight on how to see and interpret things you may have missed.

Track Your Progress

Keeping a reading list and tracking your progress are good habits to adopt if you want to read more. Research has found that the more often you monitor your progress in achieving a skill or goal, the greater the likelihood that you will succeed. There are various ways to track your reading: Pinterest boards; logging books on reading tracker sites like Goodreads or The StoryGraph; keeping a bullet journal or commonplace book; or even just taking photos of the books you’re reading and making a gallery of them.

One of the benefits of tracking your progress is that it can help you detect patterns and hidden biases in your reading habits. Do you gravitate strongly toward a particular genre or style of writing? Do you read a disproportionate amount of books from authors of one gender or particular ethnic background? This is also one of the useful aspects of maintaining a reading list of future books: seeing what you want to read next could tell you something about yourself.

It’s Okay To Quit A Book

Don’t fall victim to the sunk cost fallacy. You don’t need to finish a book just because you put a bunch of time into it if you don’t enjoy it. There are thousands of books you could read, and we only have so many days in our lives. Nothing can derail your progress as a reader like getting bored with a book, putting off reading it, and not moving on to something else. You get stuck in limbo, both unwilling to finish a dull book and unable to start a new one. Give yourself permission to be a quitter. Sometimes saving “I give up” and moving onto something else is the best choice.

Looking For Recommendations?

Interested in adding a few new titles to your to-read stack? Check out the Rio Salado library. Our library staff also has research guides and databases that can help you find books that are suited to your interests.

Article by Austin Brietta


How can you make your reading habit challenge? ›

The challenge: set aside a certain number of minutes each morning (you choose how many), and actually read a book during that session.
  1. I decided to set aside 30 minutes every morning.
  2. I set a daily reminder to do that.
  3. When the reminder goes off, I actually clear away distractions and read for 30 minutes.

How do you develop reading habits in college? ›

Tips for Students to improve their reading habits.
  1. Making reading a habit: ...
  2. Library visits: ...
  3. Starting Book Clubs: ...
  4. Picking a book of your choice: ...
  5. Setting Reading Goals: ...
  6. Making Reading a form of entertainment: ...
  7. Actively Discussing the books read:

Is there a lot of reading in college? ›

If you're new to college, your reading load is likely significantly higher than what you experienced in high school; if you're a senior in college, the level seems to go up each year. Regardless of your specific situation, knowing how to keep up with college reading can be a serious challenge.

What are examples of reading habits? ›

Examples of reading habits include setting reading goals, maintaining a “to be read” list, keeping a book with you at all times, reading every day, tracking your reading progress, engaging with other readers, and re-evaluating and readjusting your reading needs.

How many pages a day to make reading a habit? ›

Reading doesn't need to take up all of your time. The most effective way to read more is to start with 25 pages a day. Twenty-five pages a day is almost 10,000 pages a year. The number of pages you read is not as important as the fact that you enjoy it.

Is college reading hard? ›

Critical reading, as required for textbooks and other college reading material, is more complicated than reading done for pleasure, which is why college reading is more difficult and takes more time than pleasure reading.

How many hours a day should a college student read? ›

Reading is fundamental to college success, regardless of your major or field of study. According to the University of Michigan-Flint, the average college student enrolled in standard courses should study between four and six hours per day.

What is the average college reading level? ›

Average Reading Speed by Age and Grade Level
Grade Level and AgeWords-Per-Minute
6th-8th Grade (Spring) 11, 12, 13, 14 years old150 – 204 wpm
Highschool 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 years old200 – 300 wpm
College 18-23 years old300 – 350 wpm
Adults220 – 350 wpm
5 more rows

Why is reading habit so important? ›

Reading is a very important activity in a child's life. It is not only an activity that develops skills but also enhances the way the brain functions. A child who reads books can develop a better understanding of abstract concepts, excellent comprehension skills, excellent writing skills, and an outstanding vocabulary.

Should I make reading a habit? ›

Reading is like anything else. If you want to do more of it, you have to build it into your routine and read as a habit. Whether your last book was good or not, whether you have movies on your watch list or not, whether it serves an exact purpose or not—you should be compelled to pick up a book.

What are the 5 things for reading? ›

There are five aspects to the process of reading: phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, reading comprehension and fluency. These five aspects work together to create the reading experience.

Is 10 minutes of reading enough? ›

Reading Just 10–20 Minutes Per Day

What's great about daily reading is that it doesn't take a huge time commitment to make a big impact. Just 10–20 minutes per day can really add up over the course of a school year and a school career!

How to memorize 100 pages in a day? ›

How To Study 100 Pages In One Day?
  1. Remove All Distractions To Stay Focused On Your Goal. ...
  2. Avoid Multitasking: Dedicate One Thing At A Time. ...
  3. Take Breaks Regularly. ...
  4. Reward Yourself For Recognizing Your Achievements And Motivating Yourself.
Jul 14, 2022

Is reading 30 minutes a day? ›

It's a stress reliever.

A 2009 study found that reading for 30 minutes a day has those same benefits when it comes to stress relief. It reduced cortisol levels in similar amounts as 30 minutes of doing low-intensity yoga.

What causes poor reading? ›

Here are some of the causes of reading comprehension difficulties:
  • Oral Language Deficit: ...
  • Decoding Difficulties: ...
  • Working Memory Overload: ...
  • Executive Functioning Disorder (EFD): ...
  • Disinterest or Boredom: ...
  • Visual Processing Disorder: ...
  • Aphasia and Dysphasia:

What causes poor reading skills? ›

Some major causes of poor reading ability are difficult text, ADHD, dyslexia, limited vocabulary, working memory deficit, and more. People may also have trouble with comprehension due to boredom or disinterest in what they are reading. Speed reading has proven to help deal with poor reading and comprehension skills.

How many hours a day should you read? ›

However, numerous studies have defined that 15-30 minutes is a minimum interval we should dedicate to reading each day. Neuroscientists agree that even simple lifestyle changes, like daily 15 minutes with a nose in a book, will support your brain health for a lifetime.

What is the hardest subject in college? ›

What are the hardest degree subjects?
  • Psychology. ...
  • Statistics. ...
  • Nursing. ...
  • Physics. ...
  • Astrophysics. ...
  • Biomedical Engineering. ...
  • Astronomy. ...
  • Dentistry. Dentistry, like medicine, is an important profession, and if you wish to study it at university you must be prepared to undertake high volumes of both theoretical and practical work.

How long does it take a college student to read 20 pages? ›

Therefore, it would take 3.2 minutes to read one page, 32 minutes to read 10 pages, and a little over an hour to read 20 pages. *Based on research from Rosalind Streichler, Ph. D., Center for Teaching Development, University of California, San Diego; Karron G. Lewis, Ph.

How long does it take to read 100 pages in a college textbook? ›

Depending on your reading speed, it should take you between two and three hours to go through 100 pages. It takes an average reader approximately 2.8 hours to read 100 pages.

How fast should I be able to read for college? ›

How Fast Should You Read? A good rate to strive for is between 250-350 words per minute. By contrast, the average college student only reads 230-250 words per minute.

What is the best time to read academically? ›

That said, science has indicated that learning is most effective between 10 am to 2 pm and from 4 pm to 10 pm, when the brain is in an acquisition mode.

Is studying 3 hours a day enough in college? ›

If you are in school or college and need to study large amounts each day, you may be wondering how many hours you need to be studying. The science shows that you should be studying 3 to 4 hours a day to get the best results.

What grade level do most Americans read? ›

The average American reads at the 7th- to 8th-grade level, according to The Literacy Project. Medical information for the public should be written at no higher than an eighth-grade reading level, according to the American Medical Association, National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Is reading 100 pages an hour fast? ›

While a slow reader will only get through 30 pages per hour, the average person can read around 40 pages per hour. Statistics show that quick readers can even go through 50 or 60 pages in one hour.

Is 30 pages an hour slow? ›

On an average, as an avid reader, I think reading at least 30–40 pages per hour is normal.

Are college students reading less? ›

After students get to college, a survey from China Daily shows that reading time shrinks down to about half an hour a day or less. According to the survey, nearly 60 percent of the college students that were spoken to said they were dissatisfied with their reading habits.

What percentage of college students read books? ›

In 2014, Pew took its own snapshot of readers, and found that 79 percent of 18- to 29-year olds had read a book in the previous year, a statistic that remained almost un- changed from its study the previous year. 2 In five short years, 50.7 percent (NEA) changed to 79 percent (Pew).

What percentage of college students actually read their textbooks? ›

A study by Baier et al. (2011), found that only 24.8% of students actually completed the weekly reading before coming to class. Even worse, 18.7% did not complete the reading at all (Baier et al., 2011).

What college major reads the most? ›

The Best College Majors For Book Lovers
  1. English. OK, this one is a bit obvious. ...
  2. Journalism. Maybe you're more into reading up on the news and timely articles. ...
  3. Early Education. Some of the most avid-readers I know are Early Education majors. ...
  4. Library Sciences. ...
  5. Linguistics. ...
  6. Creative Writing. ...
  7. Poetry. ...
  8. Publishing.
Aug 12, 2015

Why college students don t read books? ›

The most common reasons students give to explain why they did not read assigned materials are: They had too much to read. Their work schedule does not allow enough time for extensive reading. Their social life leaves little time for reading.

Is reading losing popularity? ›

In fact, these days Americans are reading less than they have in over 30 years. You read that right. The Americans surveyed in Gallup's poll said they read (“either all or part of the way through”) an average of 12.6 books in 2021, down from 15.6 in 2016 and a recent high of 18.5 in 1999.

Why do so many students struggle with reading? ›

Children may struggle with reading for a variety of reasons, including limited experience with books, speech and hearing problems, and poor phonemic awareness.

What age reads the most? ›

People age 65 and older also spent the most time reading for personal interest. On the days they read, people age 65 and older read for an average of 1 hour and 47 minutes. They read 24 minutes longer than people ages 15 to 24.

How long does it take to read 30 pages of a college textbook? ›

How long does it take to read 30 pages? It takes about 1 hour to read 30 pages at an average reading speed - about half a page per minute. Persons can have different reading speeds. Usually, it would take us longer to read the same amount of pages of an academic text than a contemporary novel.

How many people never read after college? ›

33% of high school graduates never read another book the rest of their lives and 42% of college grads never read another book after college.

What percentage of students struggle with reading? ›

For Your Information. Approximately 40% of students across the nation cannot read at a basic level.

What are the least regretted majors? ›

The least regretted college majors, which graduates would choose all over again, are reportedly Computer and Information Sciences, Criminology, Engineering, Nursing, Health, Business Administration and Management, Finance, Psychology, Construction Trades, and Human Resources Management.

What is the hardest major to major in college? ›

Top 15 Hardest College Majors Table of Contents
  • Chemistry.
  • Environmental Economics and Policy.
  • Environmental Earth Science.
  • American Studies.
  • Nuclear Engineering.
  • Energy Engineering.
  • Astrophysics.
  • Applied Mathematics.

What is the most common degree in the world? ›

Business is the most common major, with nearly one-fifth of all bachelor's degree recipients choosing this path. Business majors include several areas of study, such as business administration, management, and marketing.


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