...You Can Do On Your Own to Improve Your Reading Without Really Trying
Instructions: For each item, if you already do this or are going to do this, respond "yes." If you have chosen NOT to do this item, give a one or two sentence scholarly explanation why you decided not to do this. "Because I don't wanna" or "I don't like this" are not scholarly answers!
- See your eye-doctor before you begin college or any other new reading campaign. Tell the doctor if you experience eye irritation, blurry vision or headaches when you read small print or for longer than 15 minutes. Make sure that if you need reading glasses you have them up to date and that you actually use them.
- Turn off the TV. Always read or study in a room where there is no TV on (audio or video), and no other loud distractions. If you prefer background music, make sure it is instrumental music (without vocals or lyrics). An alternative is to listen to songs directly related to the reading that you are doing..
- Read out loud at least fifteen minutes a day, or one hour a week. Read to a child. Read to your spouse or significant other. Read to the dog. Find a closed room and read to yourself out loud. Form a study group and read assigned material out loud to each other. If you absolutely cannot read out loud, occasionally sub-vocalize (move your lips) while reading difficult material.
- Read and study when you are at your best, never when you are exhausted and falling asleep.
- Chose at least some reading material you like, or that relates to your interests and daily life. Do not try to read Shakespeare or Hemingway just because it is the "educated" or scholarly thing to do. Do not limit your reading to assigned texts, research and studying–occasionally read an article you enjoy!
- Make sure your environment is filled with books and magazines. Buy or build a bookshelf and make sure it gets filled up. And, make sure that the books you do own are there to use, not just home decorating accessories on display to make you look educated. For an educated person books are not "clutter," they are the tools of your trade, like wrenches for a plumber, saws and hammers for a carpenter, or cups, pans, recipes and mixing bowls for a fine chef.
- Visit a library, bookstore, or online bookseller's website at least once every two weeks. If you cannot afford to buy books, at least shop for half an hour or so. If you can afford it, buy a book you like. If not, check out books from the library or read them on line.
- If you can afford it, subscribe to a hardcopy magazine or newspaper that you know you will read. Then read it each and every issue, but only the articles that interest you. If you cannot afford to subscribe, find a magazine or paper of interest online or at the library and read over each and every new issue whenever you visit.
- Set a campaign goal for the next six months, to read a certain number of books. Then do it. Keep a list of what books you have read. Make this a campaign, not just a "resolution" to read more.
- Tell others (family and friends) that you are beginning college. Get them to encourage you. Ask them to buy you mainly books for holiday gifts, birthdays, and special occasions. Discuss with them what you have read, or are reading or studying, and find friends and family with whom you can discuss the serious subjects that you are reading about or studying.
- Take notes on what you read, either for class or for fun on your own. Keep a reading diary, log or journal for a semester or a year. Then read back over what you wrote.
- Play Scrabble or other word games at least once a month.
OW 9/05 rev. 1/18