A to Z of Soft Skills: R for Reading Skills

When I came across the reading challenge, #100BooksPact on Twitter, I was astounded! 100 books in 365 days is quite a feat and needs some consistent effort. Although I’ve never taken that challenge, I know people who taken it and completed it. And I take heart in the fact that reading isn’t dead yet and books are still very much in style – real ones or ebooks!

I have also come across people in their early 20s who find reading boring. Or cannot focus their distracted minds long enough to do it. Social media dominates their life and they are constantly online. But if we look at research, the benefits of reading will never diminish. Warren Buffet reads 500 pages a day and attributes all his knowledge to the habit. Research also proves that reading literary fiction improves emotional intelligence. Need more reasons? Here are 10 (more) reasons reading makes your life better.

And it’s not for nothing that the 3 R’s of basic skills begin with Reading – the other two being wRiting and aRithmetic. And with the world around us so full of distractions, reading is no less than a skill that needs to be cultivated consciously. The world seems like a whole new place since the time I wrote a post on reading skills during the early days of this blog. So I guess it’s time to revisit the basics and look at a strategy to keep up the reading habit.

One of my longest posts – How to develop a reading habit – deals with the topic at length. It covers strategies and ideas to develop the habit and keep going. But there are some new tips that need to be added to suit the times we live in. Let’s dig in:

Cut out distractions: This is the most important impediment that stops us from reading. I’m not saying that my life is distraction free. But I have found ways to curb it for long enough to get some work done. Find ways in which you can cut distractions in your life.

Delete social media apps: I wouldn’t be able to offer this tip just a few weeks ago. It would be preaching what I don’t practice. If you are someone who constantly fiddles with your phone jumping from app to app, probably you should cut the habit at the source. Replace them with reading apps like Kindle. This worked wonders for me.

Set time out: Some people read first thing in the morning before the madness begins. Some others prefer to read before bed. Some, like me, grab a few minutes through the day. But it is important to find your sweet spot when you switch off from the online world and sit down to read. I know that we get a lot of reading done online through blogs etc. But ensure that it is distraction free and with focus.

Read in chunks: This is my oft repeated advice to build a reading habit. Reading 10-20 pages in one go creates interest in the reading material. Reading a page or two with a distracted mind is never going to work. You’ll just give it up as boring.

I believe that reading books is a free source of education and entertainment. No matter how distracted we get with technology, the joys of jumping headlong in the world of Dickens will never lose its charm. The passion of Heathcliff and the madness of Scarlet will continue to keep us hooked to books! So what are you reading at the moment?



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