By K W Warburton, The Reluctant Spoonie
Most days, you’ll find me reading or writing my own fiction, but that wasn’t the case at the start of my illness. For almost two years, I wasn’t able to hold or read a book. Additionally, I often had difficulties holding the pen when filling out medical forms. At the time, I was embarrassed to admit that I had difficulties with these basics. It took me a very long time to learn to love reading again.
When I was younger, I was a reading machine. I had a morning book that I would read with breakfast and a bedtime book. I also had a book that a read during the day at school (hello Rory Gilmore!). My reading speed is still slow, but I now enjoy reading again.
Nowadays, I am able to read a book in 4-6 weeks by reading one chapter a day. I am now able to read before bed again, something that I was not able to do for many years.
A few months ago, I posted about my reading journey on Instagram and I asked for some reading tips for those with chronic illness. I have since implemented some of these tips, many of which I had not thought of myself.
Here are my top reading tips for those with cognitive issues such as brain fog and difficulty concentrating which have helped me to love reading again.
3 Reading Tips for Those with Cognitive Issues
Audiobooks are the most accessible way to enjoy reading if you’re not able to hold a book or read text. Remember, listening to a book is the same as reading a book and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
The best way to access audiobooks is through your local library and through the Borrow Box app on you phone or tablet. You can even download them to enjoy offline.
There are paid services such as Scribd and Audible, however I found these services to be too expensive for my limited budget.
Listening Books is another affordable option with an annual subscription for just £20 for full access to their library of audiobooks.
I have found eBooks to be more accessible for several reasons:
1) Your tablet/ eReader/ phone will be easier to hold than a book.
2) You can change the settings on your device to make reading easier for you.
For example, I read eBooks in dark mode with the dyslexia font enabled. Changing the font and/or text size will make it easier for your eyes to focus on the text. This was a game-changer for me with regards to enjoying reading again as my eyes tended to dart about the page when I was reading a standard book.
3. Start Slowly
Start slow when you are getting back into reading again. Don’t try and read two books at once. Set yourself a weekly reading target. This can be as small as 1 chapter a week or even 1 page a day. You may even wish to start with a graphic novel or a book with less text.
Over time, you may find that you can read more or you may find a comfortable pace for yourself. The most important thing is to find what works for you. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else or even your pre-illness reading levels.
To rekindle your love of reading again, join your local library and set time each week for reading.
If you have trouble reading due to your illness, I want you to know that you are not alone.
Many thanks to Beth from @SpoonieBear_3000 for some of these tips. Check them out on Instagram!