What should I read?

Book lists and ideas of how to catch and keep the reading bug.

Reading is a skill, and one that comes with so many benefits – academically it can improve your vocabulary, increase your reading speed and it has been proven that readers do better academically across all subjects. But reading has so much more to offer than just better grades, it can help you sleep, improve your mental health; reduce your stress levels, it can make you more empathetic and provide you with a better understanding of the world around you and different people and cultures.

However, like any skill if you don’t practice it you can get rusty, and as a result reading can become a chore, especially if you struggle to find something to read that you enjoy. Hopefully this will give you some ideas of how to keep your reading going, expand your reading experience and help when you hit those periods when you just can’t seem to read. 

Reading dry spells (or not caught the reading bug - yet):

Like writers block when these hit a reader they can be frustrating, you can pick up and start half a dozen books and just loose interest, you start reading an article and you lose interest before you finish it, you just can’t seem to settle into the rhythm of reading. You are distracted by other things and other demands that are more important or take less effort.

If you are a reader there is nothing wrong with taking a break from reading, but if it is a problem here are some ideas to get you back into the habit.

Set aside a reading time:

Sometimes this is down to other pressures. It is often easy to give reading a low priority in your day to day life, you have homework deadlines to meet, jobs around the house to complete, requests and commitments from friends and family that often make sitting quietly and reading seem lazy or a luxury activity you can’t afford to do. Other times it may simply be that you are tired and don’t have the concentration for a new experience.

Setting aside a regular reading time enables you to prioritise reading, it could be ten or twenty minutes before you go to bed; it will help turn off your brain and help you sleep. Or you could set aside half an hour or an hour at a weekend where you turn off your phone and computer, find a space away from technology and just stop and read.

Kickstart the reading habit:

Try re-reading a favourite book – it can be comforting re-entering a world full of characters you know well, knowing it well means you are re-visiting rather than creating for the first time so it can be easier.

Read something quick a shorter book, a novella or even something aimed at a younger audience, try a magazine or newspaper, comic book or graphic novel or even poetry. All these things don’t take a long time to complete and can reactivate your interest to read more.

Try something different, change the genre or author or style of writing – sometimes a change is what you need simply try something different.

If you have been reading a lot you may be feeling under pressure to read this in itself can be the problem, try listening to a book or podcast for a change, look at what you have read and watch the TV series or film, go for a walk give your brain a chance to assimilate what you have read.

Challenge yourself to read:

Setting yourself a goal of reading regulalrly or reading specific types of book - try the School Library Reading Challenge.

What next?

There are times when you simply don’t know what to read next, you have read through the entire collection in the public library aimed at your age group and don’t know who or what will be a good read.

Don’t feel pressured to finish reading a book that you are reading for yourself, reading pleasure by definition is not chore.

How can you find a different book to read?

Ask a Librarian or library staff member in school or in your pubic library - we love sharing our love of reading.

Take a look at books by an author you have enjoyed some authors write for different age groups and different genres.

Ask what others your age are reading.

Ask older people what they liked to read when they were your age.

Online reccommendations:

Different social media platforms have book reccomendations and reviewers  search for books, titles and authors and you will soon get more reccommended to you- try out TikTok for example, and discover Book  Tok.

LoveReading is the UK’s leading book recommendation website https://www.lovereading4kids.co.uk/ or https://www.lovereading.co.uk

For reccomendations for different ages take a look at The Reading Jackdaw website for booklists both by school year and theme https://www.readingjackdaw.co.uk/work/book-lists

Toppstar is another reading review website which provideds booklists including newly released books titles: https://toppsta.com/ 

World Book day website https://www.worldbookday.com/reading-recommendations/ have book lists and recommendations from authors for a number of age groups.

And Book Trust has it's own Bookfinder: https://www.booktrust.org.uk/books-and-reading/bookfinder/

Authors often have their own websites if you want to explore other books they ahve written - if you can leave a review for yourfavourite book on a purchaseing website or send one to the author, they really apprciate getting feedback and seeing how others are enjoying their work.