We try everything in our power to make sure our children develop the habit of reading because we know the benefits of being a reader. But when it comes to ourselves we often forget these benefits and allow ourselves to give up our own reading habit for other, 'more important' work. One of the essential ways to ensure your children reads is to make sure they see their parents read.
Here is an article by Ahana Basu on The Reader that talks about how she got back into the habit of reading.
I fought to find time for reading despite full-time work and 'bad adult habits'.
I was that girl in school. Thick glasses, tightly-braided hair and a bag weighed down by extra reading material. I was that girl at home. Propped up on my elbow on my bed with a book open in front of me, one hand deep in a bag of chips. As I grew up, the glasses became more of an accessory than a necessity, and the braid gave way to shorter hair. But the books remained. When reading comes to you as easily as breathing, it’s difficult to fathom a life where you’re not reading.
Unfortunately, between adulthood, the digital age and full-time work, it was surprising how easily reading fell by the wayside. I still bought books, but they piled up, unread, often unseen. Work took a lot out of me. I worked odd hours, all of them spent glued to a computer. Once home, all I wanted was to collapse on my couch and watch mindless television. Reading demanded some degree of non-collapse, some change in posture and a somewhat alert brain. Not happening!
There was no epiphany or sudden psychological tremors that shook me back into reading. I went a good two years whining about how I had no time, but doing nothing about it. The change came simply when one day, I picked up an unread book and stuffed it into my bag before going to work. There was no guarantee I’d get time to read it, but… I lived on hope. I didn’t get time, as it turns out. The next day, I left for work an hour earlier. I swiped in, dumped my bag, took out my books and wallet and headed to a nearby café. An hour of reading and hot chocolate commenced.
It wasn’t easy, mind you. Irregular reading and a new cellphone (along with other ‘bad adult habits’) meant my attention span had dwindled considerably. I found myself skipping lines, getting impatient, looking at my phone every few minutes. But, there was a deep contentment in that hour and the subsequent hours. Much like treating yourself to a cupcake after months of kale and lettuce leaves. Since I adore cupcakes, I decided I had to keep up the practice.
I kept a book with me all the time. When buying handbags, I had to reject most of them because they couldn’t accommodate books. The ones I did buy fell into grave misshape after a month or so because I was stuffing them with reading material. At work, if I had a little time off, I tried as much as possible to get my butt off the chair, my face out of Facebook and step out for reading time. Luckily, I work in an area where new cafés and eateries are always springing up. My books and I went to check out all of them.
Sometimes, if I had skipped lunch and forgotten to bring a book with me, I’d actually go buy one so I could read while having a delayed, often highly un-nutritious lunch. I also tried to discipline myself not to buy new books till I’d read the entire pile of unread ones. Sadly, I failed miserably. So, the pile remains — in fact, it keeps getting bigger! But I’m making headway. I keep at least two books in my drawer at work. I try and read for at least ten minutes before I go to sleep. And I’ve learnt the rather strange lesson that, like all love affairs, reading seems to need constant practice. I still get impatient. I still check my phone between pages. But today, I’m just that girl who’s happier doing all of that with a book open in front of her.
Read the article here.