Today I’m going to be talking about reluctant readers—because I am one. Now, I know what you’re thinking, how can you be a reluctant reader when you write novels? Easy, writing is much different. But let’s get into that later.
Reluctant readers can be grouped into two categories, ones that can read, but choose not to and the ones that are struggling with reading, poor comprehension skills, poor spelling. So basically, a lot of poor things to have to do reading.
I know I’m a reluctant reader because I struggled with reading all together. I was in those slow reading groups when I was in grade school, from kindergarten all the way up to 7th grade. In 8th grade things were getting better for me, I think because I was keeping a journal. That really helped.
Then there was a really long period of time that I didn’t read at all. Through my high school years was a horrible struggle for me because I was getting bullied all the time. But that is a different story, but it affected me deeply. Reluctant readers can also have low self-esteem.
I didn’t pick up reading for enjoyment until I was working as a bank teller, at the drive-thru—when I was pregnant with my second child. I would work super long days and it was really slow at the drive-thru, and we were in a separate building, so it was easy to pick up a book and read. That’s when I started reading Anne Rice. I was so tuned in, I just loved it.
After the sixth book of Anne Rice, I was starting to get bored of that. Then I stopped again for a while, and a few years later discovered Carol Goodman. So I read four more books by her and again, I was getting bored.
Then in 2004, I had a major setback in my life and was diagnosed Bipolar. I was such at a loss. Yet, after all this time in my life, I was going back to deeply struggling again. It wasn’t until my therapist suggested writing that I slowly crawled myself out of the hole I was in. That’s when reading became a necessity for me.
I still struggle with my reading habits. I was picky then, and I’m still picky now. And I am still a poor speller too, lol. Even to this day, I continue to struggle with things, not just reading and writing, but with a lot of things in my life.
I would go to the library and read about 20 book jackets and pick out 2 to go home with and maybe, maybe read one of them. I only read about 10 to 15 books a year.
The point I’m trying to make here is that you can be a reluctant reader, but still love to read books. It’s okay to be picky. If you don’t like it, get a new book. Keep trying. It’s a hit or miss for me a lot, but once I find that book that speaks to me, I read it all the way through joyously. So it’s very much worth the fight to find that right book to read.
I’ve read some books I didn’t like too, to challenge myself. I know I can do it, as I’ve done it before. But it’s a big challenge for me. It’s worth it, because those books that I do love, the reading becomes that much more enjoyable.
So for those of you who are struggling with reading, introduce yourself to the joys of writing too. Keep a journal or something like that. Hone in on your interests and give the library a try. Check out some books. If you read a chapter or two and don’t like it, move on to the next. This isn’t required reading time anymore. You can pick and choose whatever and whenever you like. It’s like watching a movie. If you don’t like it, you usually turn the channel right? It’s as easy as turning the channel onto something else. Challenge yourself to find that book! It’s there, waiting for you to read. You just have to motivate yourself to search for that book.
Reading can be really difficult for me. I need it to be real quiet and in a well lit area. I always want to be comfortable, sitting outside in the warm breeze. Or on my comfy couch with the recliner out. So another important thing to reading is the atmosphere. Make yourself as comfortable as possible. Some people can read anywhere, whether you’re in the doctor’s office or some other distracting place. I just can’t do that. I’m too anxious then. So again, it is perfectly okay if you need to have it quiet.
I will always be a reluctant reader. But that will never stop me from reading books, because once I’m in the zone of reading, it’s an amazing gift. I will never deprive myself of that. And neither should you.