read, reading hacks

Read More Books With These Reading Hacks

During my college days, there were times I planted myself on the couch of the local coffee shop, and read for hours. I also worked a number of jobs that allowed me to bring a book and read during the downtime. Today, with four energetic daughters at home, and a job with ever-increasing responsibility responsibilities, finding time to read is trickier. Yet, I am learning, that with a little bit of creativity, it is still possible. Here are four simple hacks I am using to read more books this year.

Reading Hack #1: Read More Books By Speed Reading

In college, I decided to teach myself to speed read. During our winter break, I purchased Remember Everything Your Read: The Evelyn Wood 7-Day Speed Reading and Learning Program and put the tools into practice. Over the course of a few weeks, I trained myself not to move backward and re-read anything–not ever! This is more difficult to do than one may think. Re-reading material I didn’t fully understand had become second nature. Yet, the author insisted that if the information was important enough, the author would return to it later.

I  learned how to set a quicker reading pace with my hand, and how to read chunks of words at a time. The result was that I doubled my reading speed, and then doubled it again! Although I was reading faster–much faster–I had my doubts about how much information I was retaining. Then, the moment of truth arrived. Having forgotten about an exam, I found myself with over a hundred text-book pages to read and only an hour to spare. I decided that it was time to put my new reading tools to the test. Much to my delight, I excelled in the exam. In fact, the material from my hour of the study was so easy to recall that I continued to speed-reading strategies for every exam that followed.

This year, I’m reading more books by returning to my old speed reading habits.

Reading Hack #2: Read More Books With Audio-books

I didn’t think I would enjoy audio-books:

  • “I’m the type of person who likes to feel a book in my hands.”
  • “In audio-books, the authors read too slowly.”
  • “The audio-book experience just isn’t the same.”

These are excuses that I used to avoid audio-books. Then, crunched for time, and on a tight budget, I took Amazon up on their two free audibles offer. Today, I am addicted. The girls and I listen to the Harry Potter series, as we drive to school. This month, Addison and I have been doing a lot of hiking. I finished Talk Like Ted, which I found engaging and highly-practical, and recently began, The Seven Rings of Marriage, by my friend Jackie Bledsoe, all while traversing up and down Iron Mountain, with little Addison bouncing happily along on my back.

read, reading hacks
Our recent reading and hiking excursion!

Although I still enjoy the feel of a physical book, I have also fallen in love with audio-books. Listening to an audio-book is, indeed, a different reading experience–but it is also a good one. Oh, and a simple trick for authors who read too slowly–simply press the 1.5x-2x speed button in the app. Unless I’m listening to fiction, I’ll do this every time!

By the way, you can still take Amazon up on an incredible audio-book deal. Test-drive Audibles here:

Reading Hack #3: Read More Books With Rush Reader

Rush Reader is, by far, my favorite reading app. As far as I am concerned, it is the only way to read books on one’s phone. Rush Reader allows you to import PDF files, and select your reading speed. The app displays one word at a time, in large font, with the center letter of each word highlighted in red.

It’s amazing how quickly we can read when we have to. Once the pace is set, the app sticks with it. I’m up to 675 words a minute, and at this speed, most chapters are easily finished in five minutes or less–which is perfect timing for busy parents. Instead of checking Facebook, or e-mail, I use brief moments of down-time to make my way through books, one chapter at a time. The Miracle Morning For Writers, by Steve Scott and Hal Elrod, is what I’m currently engrossed in on Rush Reader.

Reading Hack #4: Read More Books With The User-Friendly Paperwhite

My final trick has been to make good use of a paperwhite e-reader. I won this device in a contest and didn’t think I would use it. Then Addison was born. The optional glow-light is easy on the eyes and makes reading a pleasure on those long nights of caring for a fussy child. Pages are turned with the swipe of a thumb, which means I am able to hold baby in one hand and read with the other. Today, the paperwhite e-reader is how I read while simultaneously feeding and rocking, two-month-old Emmalynn, to sleep. Safe Haven Marriage, by Archibald Hart and Sharon May, is my current Kindle read.

[Tweet “No matter how busy life becomes, there is always time for a good book.”]

For busy moms and dads, reading simply takes a little extra planning and intentionality. How about you? What books are you currently reading, and what steps are you taking to read more this year? I look forward to continuing the conversation, and hearing your best reading hacks, in the comments below!

More Great Reading Posts

Jed Jurchenko

Jed Jurchenko is the husband to an incredible wife, daddy to four amazing girls, and a foster dad to one more. He's served as a children's pastor, marriage and family therapist, psychology professor, award-winning writing coach, and life coach. Jed is the author of 23 books on relationships, parenting, writing, and doing life well. In his free time, you'll find Jed reading, preparing for an upcoming marathon, barbecuing, paddle boarding, and enjoying life with his incredible family. Find out more about Jed's books, coaching, and courses at

19 thoughts on “Read More Books With These Reading Hacks”

  1. Thanks for these hacks, Jed. I do a lot of audio and a fair amount of speed reading, but am interested in some of the other tips. Much appreciated.

    1. Thanks Chad, and congrats to you and Jenny on fifteen years! Such fun wedding memories and stories.

  2. Hi Jed, great tips for reading. Thanks for this useful information. How is the new baby and Jen?
    Hope the girils are fine too?
    Keep well and God bless

    1. Hey Ifeoma,
      We’re all doing well! Emmalynn is a lot of fun, and is starting to smile–which is super cute 🙂 Addison loves being a big sister, and the older girls are finishing up their final two weeks of school before summer break. Jen and I are tag-teaming between working hard and taking care off the family. It’s keeping us on our toes, but it’s also very good. We’d love to hear how you are and what you’ve been up to too? Hoping all is well 🙂

  3. I love audio books too. I listen to them when traveling in my car. It is so convenient. I really like Joel Osteen’s tapes.

  4. I love audio books too. I listen to them when traveling in my car. It is so convenient. I really like Joel Osteen’s tapes.

  5. That app sounds interesting, but I feel like I’d be aggravated by seeing only one word at a time. But it would be worth a try! I always want to read more often. My trouble is that I don’t have a proper work schedule, so I get sucked in and before I know it, it’s time to do xyz with the kids and I’m all out of time.

    1. Hey Jamie,
      I can definitely relate to that feeling of wanting to read more, getting caught up in life, and then being out of time 🙂

    1. He Cathy,

      That’s awesome! Any favorite non-fiction works on Audibles? I’m always on the lookout for another good book 🙂

  6. Great post. I love to read. I am lucky that I don’t drive to work. I take BART (which is our regional subway). Reading is one of my joys and it takes me away from my life and it also relaxes me.

  7. As much as I like reading, I should learn to speed read. I’m currently reading the Bible, by God, A God Named Desire, by Ty Gibson, A Thousand Shall Fall, by Susi Hassel Mundy, and Undaunted Courage, by Stephen Ambrose.

  8. Audio books! I really need to do this to read more. I haven’t ventured this way yet, but am thinking this would be aa great option for me as I work on other things that don’t allow me to sit and read a book.

  9. Hi Jen,
    Great to see you again at the Blogger’s Pit Stop. I’m an English/history teacher, so I appreciate you promoting literacy.
    Thanks for bringing your post to the Pit Stop last week.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

  10. I went for the Blackberry passport on my last phone upgrade for two main reasons – it handles spreadsheets really well, and it’s great for reading. I use the kindle app on it all the time!

    Thanks so much for sharing over at #FridayFrivolity 🙂

  11. All of these are excellent tips. I still haven’t created an account with Audible. I’m sure if I do I’ll probably listen to many books, especially fiction. I only listen to audios while on road trips.

    The Rush Reader app sounds cool. I’ll have to go look into that.

    I enjoy my Kindle too. I’m currently reading a book on creating crochet patterns that a friend wrote. I’m also reading Daily and Evening Inspirations.

    I remember the rushed reading sessions right before exams too. For some reason, those are the exams I ace.

    p.s. stopping by via The Blogger’s Pit Stop ^_^

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