BECOMING A BETTER READER: CONSISTENCY
Few would argue that reading is an invaluable skill. Better comprehension, vocabulary building, self-discipline, broader knowledge, and a sharper intellect are just a few of the many benefits. While the value of reading is inarguable, the amount of people who read books is dwindling. The National Endowment for the Arts found that there has been a -7% decline in adults who read literature. Further, the NCES found that over “43 million US adults possess low literacy rates.” The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that people between the ages of 15-44 spend less than 10 minutes a day reading. Why has there been such a sharp decline? Most studies attribute the decrease in reading to the advent of Television and the more recently, smartphones.
Although reading is on a sharp decline, the most productive segment of the population remains avid readers. Indeed, one of the telltale habits that successful people have in common is a commitment to reading. Notably, “85% of successful people read two or more…books per month.” It is important to note that the task of reading is not always easy. It involves a commitment, and it requires habits and tools to ensure that it is beneficial. In short, the desire to be a successful reader is not enough. Competent readers do not read haphazardly; they acquire and employ habits that make them superior readers. The following are tools and methods that Apostolics can develop to improve their reading.
THE HABIT OF CONSISTENCY
The first reading habit that somebody should work to cultivate is consistency. The reality is that effective-productive reading is just not possible without a commitment to read consistently. The serious reader should have a regular reading schedule. There are several things that a steady reading habit produces. The first is self-discipline and the second is the ability to concentrate for more extended periods. Make no mistake about it; reading is a concentration sport. Having a consistent reading schedule develops your ability to focus in a deeper and more meaningful way. Like any other habit, consistency comes through repetitively doing it over and over. The best way to develop a consistent reading habit is to start with a time goal. Start by making small, consistent time commitments, and then gradually increase the time week by week.
The following is an example of an effective method for increasing consistency and concentration:
Week 1: 10 minutes of concentrated reading.
Weeks 2-3: 15 minutes of concentrated reading.
Week 4: 20 minutes of concentrated reading.
Weeks 5-6: 25 minutes of concentrated reading
Week 7: 30 minutes of concentrated daily reading.
Here is the payoff. Once you reach the 30-minute mark, you will be reading an average of 20 pages per day. Most books average between 150 to 200 pages. Realistically, 30 minutes of concentrated reading means you can expect to read about 2 to 3 books a month. That translates to a very respectable average of 24 to 36 books a year. More importantly, you will begin to reap the innumerable intellectual benefits of focused reading. Indeed, you can expect to become a more proficient reader of the Bible. In part two, I will talk about the benefits of annotating and summarizing.
 National Endowment for the Arts. “Reading At Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America,” https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/RaRExec_0.pdf
 National Center for Education Statistics. “Data Points,” https://nces.ed.gov/datapoints/2019179
 United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Economic News Release,” https://www.bls.gov/news.release
 Sandy Clarke. “How The Power Of Reading Holds The Key To Success,” Leaderonomics, https://www.leaderonomics.com/articles/personal/power-of-reading-and-success