Learning to Read…Again

My name is Jess Kovacs, a children and teens librarian and I am learning to read…again. A very dirty confession for a self professed bookworm and librarian but this is where we are.

Some of you who have been on this journey with me for a while know I’ve struggled with health issues consistently over the last 3 years. What you don’t know is that I’ve recently been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II.  We don’t know if it’s a side effect from everything else or if I’ve always had it (although I’m convinced I’ve always had it) but it’s here and present and taking over my life. If I was having trouble reading and focusing before, I have even more now. I can’t focus, my world is flat. Reading feels near impossible. But what do you do when reading is a huge part of your life and personality? Not only is it part of my job but being an ex-bookworm just isn’t suiting me. So I’m learning to read, again. 

How am I learning to read again? One freaking step at a time. 

Step one, don’t be afraid to pick up a book. It can be scary to pick up a book when you know that it’s going to be a struggle, the sheer size of a book may be daunting. But pick one up anyway. I’ve found that starting with an old favourite has helped overcome the daunting feeling. It feels like coming home.

Step two, limit the pressure on yourself. Find a way to be okay with just reading one sentence, then two, then a paragraph, and eventually a page. We’re not going chapter by chapter anymore. We’re going sentence by sentence. Limit the pressure and the next thing you know you’ll have read a page. And if you have to stop after a page, or two, then be okay with that. Which leads me to step three, celebrate every sentence read. 

Learn to celebrate every single sentence! A book is written sentence by sentence, word by word so why should reading be any different. Each sentence is a little slice of decadence and deserves to be savoured. And while you are savouring those sentences, they will turn into pages which turn into chapters, which turn into a book. And not a book you rushed through just to move on to the next one but a well read book, which was thoroughly explored. And that my friends, is worth celebrating.  

This is how I’m learning to read again. Not being afraid to pick up a book, limiting the pressure, and celebrating every sentence. So far I’ve made it through one old favourite and one new book so i’d say the system has been a success. Do I still get frustrated? Yes, absolutely! But that’s when I look back at each sentence, each page, each chapter I’ve read and remember to celebrate.

Other tips: Try reading in a new way, like give audiobooks a try! They have helped me rediscover the ability to lose myself in a story, something I had been sorely missing.

Until next time,


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