How to Stay Connected to Reading While in School

With school back in session, finding time to read can be challenging. Read on to learn some tips for staying on top of your TBR during the school year!

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A man in a green jacket and white shirt sits in front of a bookshelf with his hands under his glasses while a book lies open on his head. Pages and letters fly around his head.

As an English and History major who’s only a month removed from college, I know the feeling of wanting to read but never being able to because of class, reading assignments, exams, etc. Plus, I’ve seen a fair deal of book lovers preparing to start their first semester of college and asking for advice on not only how to take their monthly TBRs with them but also how to find the time to read. Keep reading to discover some tips and tricks I learned about in college to keep up with my never-ending TBR!

1. Listen to Audiobooks

If you ask any book-loving college student how they kept reading during school, audiobooks are likely going to be the most given answer. In comparison to physical books and eBooks, they definitely have two major advantages:

Firstly, they’re portable, allowing you to be emotionally devasted on the walk to your 8 a.m. class from the convenience of your phone.

Secondly, they’re mostly hands-free, so you can continue to write essays and study while listening to your favorite character getting killed off.

"Gilded" audiobook/"Gilded" in red text across a black background with a golden crown dripping down to create a city.

Unfortunately, audiobooks aren’t for everyone. Personally, I always run into the problem of zoning out and missing major information and have to rewind to figure out what I missed. However, when available, audiobooks definitely make it easy to listen to your assigned class readings.

2. Count Your Class Readings Toward Your Reading Goals

Why We Can't Wait cover by Martin Luther King, Jr.; Martin Luther King, Jr. giving a speech.

Speaking of class readings, while they may not be your favorites, one way to stay on top of your reading goal is to count the books you read for class. I was an English and History major so reading books from diverse genres in diverse categories, such as Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield and Why We Can’t Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr., in the same semester wasn’t unusual. The last three years I was in college, about half of the books I read were for school. So, if you’re looking to beat your yearly reading goal, counting class readings is the best way to go!

3. Read More Novellas and Graphic Novels

If you’re in a program that isn’t as book-heavy and you’re capable of not procrastinating (not that I did…), reading short books or graphic novels is another way to placate that literary yearning. Thousands of novellas exist that give you everything you love about longer books: great worldbuilding, epic plot twists, amazing characters, etc., just shorter! A personal favorite of mine is Kay L. Moody’s Elements of Kamdaria series, which is completely made up of novellas, ranging around 18 chapters!

"The Backups" in a purple-blue gradient neon text against a blue and purple gradient background. A close-up purple face is to the left holding a microphone. A plus-sized woman, a Black woman, and a white woman in black and purple outfits hold microphones while holding their fingers in a "L" shape at the viewer.

Graphic novels are another short-form way to keep reading, and since they’re mostly comprised of beautiful illustrations, many of them can be finished in a sitting or two! One of my favorite one-sitting graphic novels was The Backups by Alex de Campi. It’s about three women who are selected as backup singers for a legendary performer, and the behind-the-scenes tea is HOT!

4. Take a Study Break

Taking a breather in between assignments is going to sound impossible once the semester has gotten underway. But a study break is something that your professors and the college itself are going to recommend, so you won’t be breaking a rule by doing it. One of my professors recommended taking 20 minutes to work/read and then resting your eyes for a minute.

A man lies his head down on an open book with a stack of books next to them. The background is a woody brown.

Your study break is yours to do what you want with, so this could be the perfect time to catch up on some reading. For me, I always liked to take an hour or two (depending on the day) after my classes ended to focus on myself, have some coffee, read, and just relax.

There you have some tips and tricks to keep reading through the busy school year! It’s important to remember that these may need to be adapted to fit your personal schedule. Also, remember that you’re a reader regardless of how many books you read. School and life happen, and you won’t always be in the mood or have time to read. Your next favorite book will always be there waiting on your shelf (unless you decide to buy a new one instead of reading what you have)!

To read more back-to-school tips for readers, click here!

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