Books can invite pure magic into our lives, but it’s not uncommon for readers to experience an occasional reading slump. Doing too much of the same thing for an extended period of time can be tiring for anyone, and reading is no exception. Luckily, there are plenty of different ways to approach this issue and get your reading routine back on track.
I’ve accumulated some of the best tips to help you get out of that reading slump and rediscover healthy reading habits. Let’s get into it.
1. Read Middle Grade Novels
One of the simplest tips on this list is to go back to reading middle grade novels. Middle grade books are created with specific guidelines and target age groups in mind.
Here are a few reasons why middle grade novels are great to read during a slump:
- They’re a lot shorter than YA and adult books. A middle grade book typically has anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 words, which doesn’t amount to a very high page count.
- Middle grades books are made for a younger audience. According to Penguin, middle grade books are written for children between the ages of 8 and 12.
- The plots are usually simpler. While every book is different, most middle grade novels have less complex plots and softer themes. This can be a great alternative when you’re feeling worn out from more complicated texts.
- The text is usually bigger. This isn’t the case for every novel, but many middle grade books tend to have a larger font to make up for the lower word count and appeal to younger eyes. This can make the physical act of reading feel more effortless.
While books in this age group are intentionally juvenile and definitely not for everyone, it doesn’t mean they can’t be enjoyed by an older audience. Next time you find yourself in a reading slump, I highly recommend checking out simpler titles like these. If you don’t know where to start, here are some of my middle grade favorites:
- Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
- Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George
- Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
- The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley
2. Multitask With Audiobooks
Audiobooks aren’t for everyone. They can be challenging to focus on, and I usually find myself hitting that rewind button a lot more than I should. However, I’ve found that audiobooks are a lot easier to digest while multitasking. They’re also good for your brain and have quite a few mental health benefits you should look into.
When I find myself in a reading slump, I love to play an audiobook in the background while working, gaming, or drawing. This makes it easier for my brain to focus on the information the story is giving me, and it’s also a great solution for when I don’t have the time or motivation to pick up a physical book.
If you can’t seem to find the inspiration to read, I highly recommend using audiobooks to help with that. And if you find it hard to pay attention while listening to an audiobook, try multitasking.
3. Read Graphic Novels, Manga, or Webcomics
One of the biggest culprits behind reading slumps seems to be a lack of energy and motivation. But these issues don’t have to keep you away from good stories. Another great solution to a reading slump is to read graphic novels, manga, or webcomics.
These stories contain some text, but they’re primarily illustration-based. Reading a story with more art than words is an excellent way to fall back into consistent reading habits, not to mention how many excellent stories you’ll discover.
One way to do this is to download the free Webtoons app to access tons of comics created by hundreds of thousands of different artists. There are so many stories in varying genres to choose from, and you can read them directly from your phone. Or, immerse yourself in a graphic novel or some good manga. You can always find physical volumes, but there are also apps you can download on your phone for this as well.
If you’re interested in graphic novels or manga, I suggest exploring different titles and finding something that looks appealing. Who knows? You might find that reading stories with majority art is the perfect fix for a reading slump.
Here are some manga recommendations if you’re just starting out:
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba by Koyoharu Gotouge
- Jujutsu Kaisen by Gege Akutami
- Kaiju No. 8 by Naoya Matsumoto
- Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
- Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa (my personal favorite)
4. Create a Reward System
Getting out of a reading slump is essentially reconstructing an old habit. One way to go about doing this is to create a structured reward system to give yourself some incentive. A reward system is just what it sounds like. You do a certain task, you reward yourself, and as a result you can build the habit you desire.
Now, you don’t have to spend a lot of money doing this. Your rewards can be as simple as some extra TV time in the evening, or even some sort of marble jar. The goal is to think of something realistic you can reward yourself with and use that as motivation to help you read more.
5. Start a Reading Journal or Sketchbook
If you’re a creative person, having an outlet to express your reading-related thoughts can be a great way to motivate yourself. Next time you’re reading, try recording your thoughts in a journal, or sketching out your favorite characters while you listen to an audiobook.
Another way to approach this method is to treat your reading journal as a bullet journal of sorts. You can make collage spreads about your recent reads, organize your “TBR” with creative drawings and charts, or simply write about books that inspire you.
Here’s a great example of a reading journal on YouTube:
By making a reading journal or sketchbook, you’re essentially turning the act of reading into a creative project. Reading with your right brain can give your left brain a bit of a break until you’re ready to start reading more. This method isn’t for everyone, but it has definitely helped me in the past.
6. Watch Book Recommendation Videos on YouTube or Tiktok
One of my personal favorite ways to get out of a reading slump is to watch book recommendation videos on YouTube or follow a Tiktok creator who focuses on literature. This also works with book hauls, reviews etc.
Here’s why I love this method:
- It can introduce you to new stories and genres you wouldn’t have explored otherwise.
- Seeing people get excited about books can make you excited about books.
- It can remind you why you love reading.
In my experience on Youtube, I’ve had the most luck with Emmie, a student and avid reader who makes lots of fun videos about all things literature. She recommends a lot of classics and general literary fiction, if that’s your cup of tea.
There are so many niches on YouTube, or “Booktube,” as book videos are called. I highly recommend exploring different reading-related channels to see if you can find anything inspiring to help you out of your slump.
7. Try Reading a Genre You’re Unfamiliar With
Reading slumps can be caused by pretty much anything, but a common reason is simply getting tired of reading the same thing over and over again.
One solution to this problem is to try reading a genre you’re unfamiliar with. If you’re a diehard sci-fi and fantasy fan, maybe try a classic. If you love contemporary romance, try horror. Explore things you haven’t read before and be open-minded to new things. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a new favorite genre.
This is also a good way to discover story styles you don’t like, so you can avoid books that might end up putting you in another reading rut.
It’s perfectly normal to experience a reading slump every now and then, but as common and frustrating as they can be, there are plenty of ways to pull yourself out and return to habitual reading.
By exploring new genres and styles, being bookishly creative, and seeking inspiration from other readers, I believe you can rebuild your reading habits and fall in love with books again.