Let’s read! Strategies to read more.

“I think books are like people, in the sense that they’ll turn up in your life when you most need them” -Emma Thompson 

Woman sitting on a couch and reading. There is a book case behind her.

Photo by Seven Shooter on Unsplash 

Reading is an investment of time and energy, resources that are in short supply for the average student. Finding time to read can be difficult for even bibliophiles! Here are some tips that have helped me explore more books while still balancing school. 

1. Have a reading buddy 

I find it easier to complete a book when I share the journey with someone else.  

Have you ever struggled to finish a book? Have you ever read a wonderful story or witty line that you couldn’t wait to share? Good reading buddies bring accountability and fun – just like having study buddies can help with sticking to a study schedule, reading buddies can help keep you on track! As a bonus: reading buddies can turn into long lasting friendships. 

2. Try an audiobook 

After finding out my reading buddy is a speed reader, I discovered a way to keep pace with him: I can listen to a book faster than he can read one. It’s not just me: there is anecdotal evidence of students watching lecture recordings at 2-3x speed during the pandemic. There are lots of perks of listening to a book: you can multitask by cooking, going to the gym, or even taking a shower while “reading” at the same time! Most importantly, listening is not as energy sapping as reading. 

When I think of audiobooks, I think of burgers. If literature is food, then audiobooks are fast food burgers. They can keep you alive, but are they “nutritious” enough to be dependable for the long run? The evidence is mixed, but some researchers have speculated that information retention is lower for audiobooks than printed books (Heid, 2018). However, faced with the prospect of book-starvation, audiobooks are still a good compromise for busy students. Interested in learning more about audiobooks? Here are some more tips, including our favourite listening apps! 

3. Choose the right books 

In my experience, picking the right book is equally as important as preparing to sit down and read. Books, like humans, have different “personalities”. When I find myself bored with a book, it’s not because it’s lacking in content, but rather it’s incompatible with my interests. My favorite technique for finding good books  is to stick to an author I’ve liked in the past. The science behind this approach is simple: each author has a style which influences the “personality” of their books. Another way I like to pick books is to get recommendations from friends. For example, I often consult my co-workers’ recommended books. And it works! 

If a book looks particularly intimidating, consider listening to it rather than reading it; and get a reading buddy to share the journey with. Let us know in the comments below what strategies you use to keep in touch with your favorite books.   


Heid, M. (2018, September 6th ). Are Audiobooks As Good For You As Reading? Here’s What Experts Say. Retrieved from Time: https://time.com/5388681/audiobooks-reading-books/ 

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