Dearest Younger Self,
When you read your first book, you were around nine years old. The school started distributing books among the children that year and you got a Hardy Boys. How you loved reading that book! Of course, you would never remember the book’s title and story, but you would always cherish the wonderful experience of reading a book for the first time.
I don’t remember anybody teaching you how to read. Back then, sight words were unheard of and nobody talked about phonics. Nobody read to you or read with you. How then did you learn to read? This is a question that I will never be able to answer.
You had a really great time reading Enid Blyton and Hardy Boys, but your elders poked fun at you for reading such “trivial stuff.” These aren’t “great” books, they scoffed. One of them said that he had finished Charles Dickens “Great Expectations” when he was your age. You immediately felt that reading Enid Blyton and Hardy Boys was an intellectual crime and went on to make a big mistake.
You tried to make somebody else’s reading tastes your own. You were told that intelligent people read “classics,” the great books. To please your elders, you began reading heavy literature. You didn’t really enjoy it and it gave you a headache, but you told yourself that you were having a great time. Oh hell, you bored yourself senseless for five long years studying literature while you could have had the time of your life reading comics, jokes, science fiction, and detective novels.
Too late, you realized that reading should be a playful activity, never a chore, never a bore. Too late, you learned the five playful ways to become a voracious reader and a good writer.
- Read Books That You Like
You don’t have to read a book because it is the most recommended book in the world. You aren’t intellectually inferior because you cannot read a classic. You do not have to enjoy a book because it has won awards. Books that parents recommend or uncles and aunts read when they were your age are not necessarily the best books for you.
You have to read books that you like. Come on, there are millions of books out there. If a book fails to interest you after you have read a page or two of it, feel free to chuck it and find another one.
- Read Fairy Tales
Fairy tales are great fun. If you haven’t read them in your childhood and youth, read them now. Or at least, read them with your children.
And if you don’t like fairy tales, try folk tales, comics, mythology, and so on. Don’t allow anybody to bully you into reading something you cannot enjoy.
The world of books offers unlimited choices, owing to which there is always something for everybody.
- Read Jokes
Besides entertaining you, jokes teach you a lot about a community’s lifestyle and culture, improve your vocabulary, teach you a lot about wit, humor, and sarcasm, and show you how to play with words. The most wonderful thing about jokes is that they are so short. You don’t have to spend days reading one of them.
- Tongue Twisters
Want to impress your friends? Read those tongue twisters and read them fast. They sure improve your pronunciation and vocabulary. Click here to find 600 tongue twisters.
- Maintain a Diary
Reading and writing are inter-related. If you want to improve your reading, you should improve your writing too. One of the most playful ways to do this is to keep a diary.
So what can you write in your diary? Try the following:
- Record your dreams.
- Write down your plans for the future.
- Jot down your thoughts, ideas, and feelings.
- Write stories, poems, and jokes.
- Note down the day’s happenings.
And have fun doing it. If you find yourself at a loss for words, just reach out for the dictionary.
Your Older and Wiser Version (OWV)