For many people, sitting down with a good book is easy and fun. People with ADHD, though, often struggle to perform this seemingly basic task. Focusing on and comprehending pages of information can feel overwhelming, and our brains immediately decide to do something easier instead.
However, all is not lost. There are ways to improve reading skills as an adult with ADHD that I’ve detailed below.
Read Physical Books Instead of Digital Ones
Digital screens, even those on electronic readers, can overstimulate those of us with ADHD. Reading on multi-use screens such as phones and tablets also leaves us open to other distractions, like social media. Reading a physical book instead of a digital one can immediately cut down this distraction risk. All readers, either with or without ADHD, comprehend better when reading paper books as well.
Pick an Interesting Book
Even with a physical book in hand, we can struggle to focus on the book’s content. One way to help our brains focus on the book instead of outside distractions is to pick something we find interesting to read. Society puts pressure on us to read great classics or popular books, but we don’t have to listen. Pick a book on a subject that you find interesting, and you’ll find it easier to focus.
Maximize Stimulation With Breaks
Another way to improve focus while reading is to take breaks. To focus well, we need to feel stimulated. Knowing that we’re only reading for a short amount of time and will soon take a break makes that reading period more stimulating. Breaks also balance that stimulation. You won’t feel overwhelmed with a break on the horizon.
Read Actively Instead of Passively
Now that you have an interesting physical book in hand and know to take breaks, you can start reading. Try to read actively instead of passively since this will help you focus and comprehend better. Active reading can look different for everyone. Some people highlight or take notes, such as journaling directly into your Bible or underlining favorite quotes. Others read out loud or in groups so that they can talk about the reading material and quiz each other. Experiment and find what works best for you.
Improving reading skills as an adult with ADHD can feel challenging, but it’s not impossible. Be patient and gracious with yourself, and try to get more out of your next read.