September 18, 2022

Finding Your Reading Routine

One of the biggest highlights in recent years within literacy research has been the discovery that you only need to read for six minutes per day to feel the benefits. Wondering how to develop a reading routine to feel the benefits longer term? Here are seven handy strategies you can try when developing your daily reading routine:

The Bitesize Goal Method

This is one of the easiest strategies to implement. Simply look at your book and decide how many pages or chapters you want to read per day. This method is particularly useful if you are reading within a timeframe, e.g. reading a book for a class or a book group. You can take the number of pages in the book and divide it by the number of days you have in your timeframe to figure out how many pages you need to read in a day, preferably giving yourself a couple of days leeway in case other things crop up. However, it can also work just as well for those reading for pleasure. It can give you instant structure and discipline to your reading routine before you begin. The only drawback of this method is that the time it takes to achieve your goal can vary.

The Timer Method

For those who struggle to find time for reading within their day, the timer method is a good solution. Carry your book around with you wherever you go and when you get a spare moment, set a timer on your phone and begin reading. You might find time on your commute to work or even your lunch break. You can read pretty much anywhere as long as it is safe to do so. The timer should be set for at least six minutes so that your routine has an impact. You can increase the timer as you see fit, and as you get into your routine, don’t be afraid to read beyond the timer!

The Social Swap Method

This strategy works best for those who prefer to read eBooks. A recent survey found that the average person spends around two hours twenty seven minutes scrolling through social media per day. There is no suggestion that you should give up social media (in fact, social media can be a brilliant source of inspiration when you’re deciding what to read next), but you could give up just six of these minutes to concentrate on reading instead. The easiest way to implement this strategy is to have an eReader app like Kindle installed on your phone. Whenever you feel that you are going to tap on a social media app simply to pass the time, click on the eReader app instead. The minutes will soon start stacking up!

The Ad-Eater Method

Unfortunately, this strategy isn’t as dramatic as it sounds (although that may depend on what you read!) Most of us are familiar with that sinking feeling of an ad-break interrupting a pivotal moment of a film, podcast, or TV programme. In the UK, there can be 12 minutes of advertising per hour of commercial television, with rumours of massive increases abounding in the media recently. Therefore, even if it doesn’t feel like you’re reading for that long, you will be getting through more than you think.

The Keyword Method

For those who aren’t short on time but don’t know where to start, the keyword method is a great solution. If you’re unsure how to begin looking for a book you might like, try using a keyword to research books. To begin a search for reviews, make a list of things you enjoy seeing on a film or T.V. show. Form a search term from this and type it into a search engine. For example, if you like Doctor Who, you may type in a search term like ‘sci-fi books with aliens’. Search terms like these are likely to bring up lists with multiple books that match your preferences. If you can find a list like this, you have a ready-made reading list which will make you feel more motivated to stick to your daily reading routine.

The Try-Before-You-Buy-Method

No, this doesn’t mean you’re entitled to endless hours in a bookshop reading books you haven’t purchased (although by definition, you are welcome to do this in a library). When you type the title of a book into Google, you will see a side panel containing information about the book. On this panel, there will often (although not always) be a blue button that says ‘PREVIEW’. This will take you to a Google Books preview of the title. Selected pages of the book have been made available in accordance with copyright laws. This often means that there are pages redacted, but the preview gives you enough of a gist of the book to decide if you like it. This method is more time-consuming than the others, but it ensures you have books that you really want to read and may even allow you to broaden your choices.

The Review Method

Seeing what other people make of books you think you may be interested in can be helpful in deciding what to include in your reading routine. Sites like Goodreads are a good starting point as most of the reviews come from readers rather than literary critics. A word of caution though: look for detailed reviews and don’t rely on the average rating only. One-star reviews without any explanation don’t tell you anything, but they still count towards the average rating. You may choose to ignore certain reviews too – that’s fine as reading is an individual experience. For audiobooks, always look for reviews on the audiobook platform you are using such as Audible. These will tell you if there are any issues with the sound quality which could affect your overall experience and potentially put you off reading.


Using a one of these methods or combining several of them should help you to create a baseline reading routine. Don’t be afraid to mix and match until you find the right method that works for you.



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