This is the third post in our four-post series celebrating Cued Forward’s Back to School, Back to Learning Something New focus. 8 minute read. For this post, we would like to thank Dr. Seuss for encouraging children to read and his dynamic writing style.
We tell our kids to everyday to read, read, read, but somewhere we forget as adults to lead.
And we don’t pull out as often our books nor Kindles nor magazines nor Nooks.
We lost sight that reading not only makes us wiser and smarter and keen,
But help our lives in ways unseen.
Reading. An activity that some of us treasure and others of us dread. A way to learn that can give us the opportunity to dive deep into a subject, develop skills, understand feelings and emotions better or gain insight from a different perspective. Whatever the reason we read (or in some cases don’t read), honing our reading talent can help us make great strides in our personal and professional growth and development.
Becoming a Better Reader
Reading skill tips vary from a formal to informal process. We are providing improvement opportunities that fall somewhere in the middle of this continuum. If you work better with a formal process, tweak the tips to rules. Less formal, use the tips as overviews. Developing the skill of reading is guided by you and you are in control what, where, and when you read. How often do you get that type of power in your life?
3 ways to become a better reader
Set reading goals. As with many things in our lives, writing and committing to a goal will improve our chances at success. Reading goals can vary from a “read this many books by this date” goal or reading a certain number of pages a day. For someone wanting to gain extensive knowledge, the goal could include researching specific books to achieve knowledge advancement. For others, it’s is simply “What book do I want to read?” Reading goals do not only need to include books. Goals could be based on reading other content such as blogs or fan fiction.
For some people, actually scheduling time on their calendar is the only way they will make time to read. If this is you, block off times where you can focus on reading like you would making a golf tee time or a spa treatment. Since reading can sometimes be done for both work and pleasure, scheduling gives you the extra motivation to make reading happen
Making reading easy to do. In the age of electronic devices, it is easy to have reading material available almost all of the time. Down load an app like Kindle on your smartphone and have your reading material there when you have unexpected time available. If you are someone who prefers to have the reading materials in hand, leave a book in your car, in your desk at work, and yes, one somewhere accessible in the bathroom.
Help remember what you read. Journal short summaries of what you learn either after each chapter, at some mid-point in the book, or once you are complete. Dog-ear or use flags to mark sections, passages, or quotes to keep close at hand. Since reading is a time investment, we should get the most out of our experience and remember details that we might otherwise forget.
Why reading is beneficial
Beyond simply acquiring knowledge, there are many benefits of reading. And while the benefits of reading are many, we have summarized them into four categories.
Improves emotional and mental well-being and physical health. Research has shown that regular readers have reduced stress levels and are able to deal with mental health issues like anxiety and depression better. Reading often enables us to escape and disengage from the constant chaos going on in our work and family lives. In a recent study of 1,500 readers, 76% of those surveyed said reading has improved their lives, they are happier, and feel like the things they do are worthwhile.
Another positive of regular readers is that it fends off memory decline later in life. Reading keeps the brain active. One study showed that readers have 32% less memory decline than do non-readers later in life.
When it comes to our mental agility, reading improves intellect and spirituality as well as focus and concentration. Think about the last time you were in the middle of a great book. Did you lose track of time because you mind was only focused on what you were reading? On top of all of this, reading has been shown to be a natural sleep aid.
Expands your competitive advantage. Looking for a way to interview better? Read. Staying on top of current events, changing practices, and new legislation gives you an advantage over someone who does not read regularly. Managers are looking for people who do their research when applying for a job. There’s no better way to prepare for an interview for a company than to learn about its history, leaders, and culture. Additionally, learn about the organization’s competitors, industry, and related professional organizations.
Improves interpersonal skills. We know that you might be hesitant about this one, but hear us out. Reading gives you an opportunity to explore other people’s feelings, reactions, and relationships through the words on the page. Reading gives you “richer, broader complex models of experience” that exposes you to situations you might not face in real life. And because you are building your vocabulary and focus, you become a better listener. In fact, research has shown that reading fiction helps build empathy because when we read about a situation, it is almost as if we are there.
Taps into unknown strengths. Reading engages your imagination and stimulates creativity. It opens your mind and allows you to explore areas you might have felt “off limits” if you had not read about them. Think about a book that challenged your belief system or the way you function in business. Think about changes and improvements to your behavior that came as a result of being challenged. For people who are regular readers, the written word can have a bigger impact than the spoken word.
We hope that you will take these lists to heart
And that you will read them again, not tear them apart.
Reading is a great learning tool.
One that began even before you started school.
So take some advice and find a great book
And here is a great place to start, take a look.
With so much reading material available, sometimes it is hard to know where to start so we wanted to give you a starting point with some suggestions.
Cued Forward’s Get Started Reading List
This list was compiled by talking to business people and book clubs and people just like you. Our team also added a few of their favorites as well. Let us know in the Comments section what has been the best book or other reading (blog, fan fiction, article, etc,) you have read this year.
Wherever your reading journey may take you, read the type of subject matter and style that motivates you to want to read more. Learning is never-ending with reading.
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