Studies say that the average person reads somewhere between four to twelve books a year. Here at The 52 Book Club, we like to push our challenge participants a little further by encouraging them to expand their reading and attempt 52 books in 52 weeks.
There are a lot of reasons as to why you should read more. (Expanding vocabulary and knowledge, relaxation, mental stimulation — to name a few.) But we’re often asked how one begins to read more. What are some practical tips for reading a book a week?
To help answer that question, we’ve compiled a few of our favourite ways to read more!
Post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
Sixteen tips for tackling 52 books in 52 weeks:
1. Join a challenge.
Since this website was built around a reading challenge, we would be remiss not to mention that this is a great way to expand your reading! Not only do challenges push participants to read more, they also give a variety to your usual reading.
Furthermore, if you’re participating in a challenge with friends, you’ll have an additional level of accountability. This will help if you fall behind or feel discouraged by a reading slump.
2. Set daily reading goals.
Set aside time to read daily. Make a realistic and manageable goal — even if it’s just fifteen minutes before bed. Once you’ve created a daily reading habit, slowly increase your time spent with a book.
3. Set an annual reading goal.
This tip is a little different than the one above. In addition to setting daily reading goals, set a general goal that you’d like to accomplish for the year. For some, this may be “52 books in 52 weeks” — but keep in mind that reading goals don’t always have to be numbers based.
You could set a goal to only read books by authors of colour. Or to have half of your total reads comprised of non-fiction books. Perhaps your goal is to only read books that you like, or to try new genres and authors that you’ve never read before. Pick a goal that is motivating for you and work towards it!
4. Don’t leave home without a book!
Carry a book with you where ever you are. Sometimes, this means sneaking in a few pages while you’re waiting on an appointment or on your lunch break. It’s amazing how quickly those little moments add up throughout the day!
5. If you’re not enjoying a book, don’t finish it.
Life is too short for boring books. And not every book is going to fit every reader. If you’re not enjoying the book, you’re not going to want to pick it up — meaning you’re going to read less overall. Give yourself permission to put it away. You may come back to it later or you may decide to mark it as DNF (did not finish) and that’s okay too.
**Tip: If you’re struggling, look online for other reviews (or ask in our Facebook group.) Does the book pick up part way? Did other readers feel the same way as you? Was it worth the read? Use their feedback to help you set a specific cutoff. Example: “If I’m still not enjoying this book by page 60 (or the end of chapter four) then I’m going to stop reading.”
6. Try audiobooks.
Listening to audiobooks isn’t cheating. In fact, it’s the perfect way to fill those long commutes or for multi-tasking while cleaning the bathrooms. If you want to read more books during the year, try signing up for a program like audible on Amazon. (They offer a free, 30-day trial too.)
7. Try a new author or genre.
Sometimes we struggle with reading because we’re not loving what we’re reading. Mix it up! Try a new author or a new genre. Ask for recommendations and (keeping in mind tip #5) give it a try. You may be surprised with what you uncover!
8. Minimize distractions.
When it comes to reading more, be intentional about it. Turn off the TV or place your social media apps on silent for a while. Spend this time with a book instead — that time adds up!
9. Find a quiet space.
Some people can read on rollercoasters. Others need a quiet, cozy space. Find what works for you. If you’re easily distracted, create a reading nook or space where you can get away for a while.
10. Research reads in advance.
I love to pick books by their covers, but when it comes to reading more, it’s not always the best choice. If you’re in a reading slump, try to research books that sound interesting. Look at their Goodreads ratings and reviews to see what other readers thought of it. With a little advance research, you can optimize your time by reading books you’re more likely to enjoy.
11. Start a book journal.
If you’re the type of reader who’s motivated by checklists, then a book journal may be the way to go! (See here for tips on how to create one.) Book journals are a great way to keep track of your goals and visibly see how far you’ve come!
12. Work on increasing your reading speed.
It can be difficult to find time during a busy day to read. Increasing your reading speed is helpful when it comes to maximizing the time you do have. You can find free speed tests online to see how fast you’re currently reading, as well as research tips for increasing your speed.
13. Use an e-reader.
Some people love e-readers while others, not so much. They do, however, have some pros when it comes to helping you read more! First, they’re useful when practicing tip #3. (Don’t leave home without a book.) Lightweight and compact, they’re perfect for storing in a purse or backpack. Another pro is that they’re easy to read in darker settings! This adds to your reading opportunity time.
Finally, some e-readers have options for reading stats. When you finish a book, you can see how long it took you to read, how many pages you read per session, etc. These stats can go a long way in helping you improve your reading speed.
Here are a few options to check out:
14. Have the next book ready.
Another tip for reading 52 books in 52 weeks, always have your next book ready! Plan out a few books in advance. Make sure that the one you want to read next is available and ready for when you finish your current read. If you’re waiting on a book to come off hold at the library, have a spare ready as backup. This way, you can always be reading instead of waiting!
15. Read multiple books at a time.
This tip is linked to the one above. Have two or three books on the go. (An e-book for when you’re out and about, a physical copy for when you’re at home, a book on your nightstand table, an audiobook for the car, etc.) Mix up genres and book types — a lighthearted read for when you just need to relax and a non-fiction one for educational purposes.
16. Remember that it’s supposed to be fun!
Reading should always be fun! Pick books that you love. Don’t be afraid to set them aside if you don’t love them. Mix up your genres. Try an audiobook or a children’s novel. There are so many ways to fall back in love with reading! Find what works for you and you’ll naturally begin reaching for a book whenever you have a spare moment or two.
Keep in mind that it’s okay to take a break too. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of a book a week, take a step back. Perhaps you need to re-evaluate your goals and maybe you just need to take a day off before diving back in again.
There are no rules when it comes to reading. Just have fun with it!
What are your best tips for reading more? Share in the comments!