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The 5 Characteristics All Great Authors Have in Common

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“To thine own self be true.” – William Shakespeare

From J.K. Rowling’s “rags to riches” journey with the Harry Potter series to George R.R. Martin‘s Game of Thrones phenomenon, it fascinates us to learn what it is about authors that help them reach their levels of success.

What makes some writers more successful than others? When it comes to becoming an award-winning novelist, is being exceptional at spinning stories and impeccable grammar enough?

Do you have what it takes to be a great writer?

While each writer’s story is different, we have discovered that there are specific characteristics that all successful authors have in common. Here are the top five qualities that make a writer great:

 

  • Self-Discipline

 

Great authors need the discipline to stick to a schedule. While it’s true that many writers need to wait to be inspired, writers typically motivate themselves, committed to writing a specified amount such as a chapter over a defined amount of time. Writers work unsupervised; therefore, they know that it’s up to them to monitor their productivity. They know to avoid procrastination. Because writer’s block is something writers dread the most, they know to not stop when they’re “on a roll.”

 

  • Good Researchers

 

While some authors write from experience or a vision in their head, many turn to proper old-fashioned research to form their ideas or make their writing more accurate; even some fiction is based on facts.

 

  • Problem Solvers

 

Successful and productive writers know they can’t let their egos get in the way. They realize they will hit roadblocks and may require help at some point. They recognize that the best way to stay productive is to seek help when needed. It could be in the form of a mentor, a second pair of eyes, someone to listen, or even tools that check spelling and grammar. While writers are expected to be great at spelling and grammar, you’d be surprised by how many aren’t. Many often have to go back and correct their writing or have an editor look over their work.

 

  • Vision

 

Some authors say their stories write themselves. But for most writers, their process starts with a view. Without writing a single word, they know who the key players are in their story. They see the theme and the setting. They know what the central conflict is and the resolution.

 

  • Passion for Reading

 

There’s nothing wrong with being moved by someone else’s words. Most authors are inspired to become writers because of a love for reading. Reading and writing complement each other. Like artists and other creatives, the work of favorite writers often inspires their writing. By reading others work, they can recognize lousy writing and identify different styles of writing. The more you read to learn, the more you develop self-awareness of the kind of writer you are and ultimately, want to become.

If you’re an aspiring writer and need inspiration, Progressive Rising Phoenix has a vast variety of award-winning titles in mystery, suspense, action, adventure, fantasy, romance, historical fiction, and sci-fi. Contact us today, and we’ll help get you started.

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The Most Successful Young Adult Books of All Time

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While Young Adult Fiction often is labeled as books for teens or the age group covering 12 – 14 years old, YA books appeal to all ages. Many YA novels have gained so much popularity that people continue to read many titles that are from decades ago. Many YA titles have gone on to enjoy the tremendous success that they get adapted into movies and become blockbuster hits.

The following are some of the most successful YA books of all time. Some of these YA titles enjoy success regarding book sales while others have left a lasting cultural and societal impact:

The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

The first novel from the Harry Potter series, The Sorcerer’s Stone, was first released in 1997. To date, it’s sold over 450 million copies. Six more books followed the Sorcerer’s Stone. In total, the entire book series has totaled $7.7 billion in sales.

The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye sold more than 65 million copies when it published in 1951. Each year, there are sales of about 250,000 copies of the book.  At one point, it was both the most censored book and the second most taught book.

 

Anne of the Green Gables by LM Montgomery

Anne of the Green Gables published in 1908. Since its publication, the book has sold more than 50 million copies. It’s adapted into films, animated series, and made-for-television movies.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games published in 2008. When the first book was first released, it sold 200,000 copies. By the time the film adaptation was released n 2012, the book had been on USA Today’s bestsellers list for 135 consecutive weeks.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time released in 1962. The book was so successful that it inspired two film adaptations. In a National Education Association online poll in 2007, it was named one of the “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children.”

The Outsiders by SE Hinton

The Outsiders by SE Hinton is arguably one of the most influential and controversial YA books of its time. It was first released in 1967 and has sold approximately 15 million copies.

The Sweet Valley High series by Francine Pascal

There are 181 books n total in the Sweet Valley High series. The series chronicling the lives of identical twins living in Sweet Valley, California began in 1983. The series inspired spin-offs and made into a TV series which ran for four seasons.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver released in 1993. In 1994, it won the Newberry Medal and had sold over 10 million copies worldwide. Two decades after its release, the book adapted into a movie.

The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer

The Twilight series has sold over 120 million copies since they were first released in 2005 and translated into 37 different languages. The series spent over 235 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list for Children’s Series Books of 2008. The books adapted into the movie series, The Twilight Saga, which grossed over $3.3 billion worldwide.

Progressive Rising Phoenix Press offers a wide variety of young adult fiction. Our award-winning young adult fiction titles include mystery, suspense, action, adventure, fantasy, romance, historical fiction, sci-fi, and more!

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How Does Reading Affect Your Brain?

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We know that reading sparks our imagination. A reading experience that is immersive enough has the power make our mind burst with imagery and fill us with emotions. Well-written stories can make us laugh or cry. They can anger or inspire us. Our minds take off, and we envision we are in the setting of the story, existing as one of the key players. We become invested in the lives of the characters, cheering for our favorites.

But have you ever wondered what happens to our brains when we read? Is there a physical reaction going on in our minds whenever we read?

Heightens Connectivity in the Brain

The truth is that our brains do fascinating things when we read. Neuroscientists have discovered that reading can stimulate our minds when what we read is compelling enough. In a study on the Short- and Long-Term Effects of a Novel on Connectivity in the Brain, researchers sought to determine whether reading a novel causes measurable changes in the brain. For 19 consecutive days, participants read pages from a book, during which functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) tracks changes in the resting-state brain activity. The results of the research proved that there are long-term changes in brain connectivity. Connections were identified to increase in strength during story days, remaining elevated even after reading.

Increase Brain’s Activity for Memory

Reading stimulates your brain, keeping it engaged. And because reading improves brain function, it is considered one of the best exercises for your mind as it positively affects mental, cognitive tasks like reasoning and memory. The novels you read are full of different elements, forcing you to remember character names, descriptions, events, and settings. Therefore, the more you try to recall what you read, the more you work your mind.

In a study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, researchers discovered how reading influences the brain on a chemical level. It stimulates the mind, training our imagination and giving our brain a workout. And just like regular exercise for the body, reading keeps your brain healthy. The healthier it is, the more you avoid cognitive decline and the better your short- and long-term memory. Reading is believed to be so beneficial to cognitive health that it is considered to help you prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Alters Brain Tissue

There’s evidence that serious reading can cause the brain to create white matter. White matter refers to the areas of the central nervous system that act as “highways” carrying information throughout your mind. Gray matter, on the other hand, relates to tissues that process and store information. The research by scientists from Carnegie Mellon University uncovered the first evidence that reading alters brain tissue, causing the brain to rewire itself physically. With the creation of new white matter, communication within the brain improves. Therefore, the more you read, the more you help build your mind to carry information.

If you’re ready to start exercising and building your brain, Progressive Rising Phoenix has excellent titles to keep you entertained, and your mind stimulated.

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Make Reading an Enjoyable Part of Your Kid’s Life by Creating a Home Library

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We all want our kids to read more – and to love reading, but we often lack strategies to make learning enjoyable for them. Reading should be a pleasant, relaxing part of everyday life and it is our role as parents to create the proper reading environment for our children. You need to encourage your child to read at home. To do so, make a comfortable and inviting place for your kid to curl up with their books.

When you set up a home library, you send a strong message that reading is an integral part of family life and that it isn’t reserved exclusively for schools and libraries.

A home library doesn’t necessarily need to take up much space – a corner in your kid’s room may do the trick entirely. All you need is a bookcase, books, and a hint of creativity.

Here are several suggestions for creating a cozy reading area that will spark your child’s creativity and make reading a beloved, enjoyable part of their everyday life:

Choose the Right Spot

Think about a place in your house that would be perfect for keeping and reading books. It should be a cozy, inviting space that makes learning a relaxing activity. Put out soft pillows for your child to snuggle on while reading their favorite story. Make sure the lighting is good for reading.

Put Books Within Reach

Your child is not your height so you should put the books within their reach. Make sure to use low, sturdy shelves to enable your child to select the books they want to read quickly. It is crucial for the racks to be safe for the child, so it is out of the question to have them climbing on a chair or the shelf to reach books.

Rotate the Books Regularly

Have regular rotations by changing the books on display. This way you encourage your child to read new stories instead of continually sticking to cherished favorites. There is nothing wrong with your child having a favorite book, but helping them to explore new writers and new literary worlds is very important.

Put Your Child’s Interests First

When you start filling your child’s home library, include books, magazines, and catalogs that cover topics that are of interest to them. The child’s teacher or the local librarian can be of great help when it comes to finding books on particular subjects. Does your kid love motorcycles? Buy a book about the history of Harley-Davidson, or buy fresh motorcycle magazine issues. What the child wants, the child should get – in a reading form.

Extend the Reading Experience

You should encourage your child to retell the stories in creative ways. Provide them with crayons, a flannel board or any other art materials so they can express and retell parts of the book in their cozy home library area.

Building a home library for your children will encourage their reading activities, and it will help incorporate storytelling into their life from an early age. Visit Progressive Rising Phoenix to choose from a wide variety of interesting books for your child’s home library!

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Fun Ways to Enhance Children’s Literacy and Encourage Reading

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In today’s fast-moving world filled with technology and all kinds of distractions, parents often struggle to find ways to spark interest in reading books in children. While it’s true that technology is terrific on many levels, it is also very addictive. Encouraging the development of children’s literacy is very important, and it is in your child’s best interest to recognize the benefits of reading from early ages.

Here is a list of fun activities that allow you to incorporate reading into your child’s life seamlessly:

Introduce Your Kids to Reading Challenges

Family reading challenges help develop teamwork, goal setting, and determination in children. Working as a family to complete a particular problem will innovate your child’s way of thinking when it comes to shared responsibility and teamwork.

When you make reading a challenge, it automatically becomes more interesting for kids. Decide as a team which book you are going to learn, set a deadline and track your progress. Celebrate each family member’s success. There are many exciting challenges your children are going to love. Try the Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt or Reading Bingo.  

Bring a Story to Life

Children will feel more connected to a book if you bring some part of its story to life. Choose a recipe from one of the books and make a family dinner out of it. Let a book inspire you to create a piece of art as a family, or do an act of kindness you read about in a book. Try out a new activity described in your kid’s favorite book, or visit a city where a particular story took place.

Bringing a book to life gives the reading experience a new dimension, and it makes the children feel a stronger bond with the story.

Schedule Regular Visits to Free Libraries

Free libraries are everywhere, and you probably have at least one near you.  Most libraries have free books for you and your children to read. The principle is wonderfully simple: you take a book, and you leave a book. Visit the Little Free Library website to discover a list of registered small free libraries in your community.

Feel the Magic of Campfire Stories

There is no better way of spending time together as a family than with storytelling. It is without the distraction of tech gadgets and an excellent way of teaching the kids about the elements of a story. Organize family storytelling; build a bonfire, or pretend you and the kids are sitting around a campfire.

Tell make-believe or true stories to each other and encourage your children to tell their stories in detail. It will help them learn about the structure of a story and the proper way to tell a tale.

Go on Outdoor Literacy Walks

Many StoryWalk® exhibits are popping out across communities. They allow your family to walk through a book literally. The pages of a book are deconstructed and hung along a trail. Typically, you can find them in outdoor places, like parks. You can see an exhibit near you by contacting your local library.

Visit Progressive Rising Phoenix for many interesting books for your children!

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Why You Should Read to Your Unborn Baby

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Reading to your unborn baby brings many benefits – both for the parent and the baby. The relaxation and bonding you feel when you share reading time with your baby are undeniable. Did you know that, according to science, reading to a baby in the womb helps the baby develop early language learning?

It is well-known that reading helps with language development and word recognition in small children. It creates a positive bond between the child and the parent, providing a special unity feeling before bedtime. Knowing that all of these also apply to unborn babies in the womb gives you the ability to get a step ahead of bonding with your child, and preparing them for the outside world.

Let’s list the most important advantages of reading to your unborn baby:  

Reading to Your Unborn Baby Might Make the Baby Smarter

The University of Oregon conducted a study during which they gave pregnant mothers a recording containing a made-up word which they would play to their baby near the end of pregnancy. After they were born, the babies were able to recognize the made-up word and some of its variations. They measured the neural signals the babies emitted to show that they realized the sounds of the fake word. The most cogent response came from the babies who heard the recording most frequently.

In conclusion, the study suggests that infant language learning begins before the baby is born.

Reading to Your Unborn Baby Reduces Maternal Stress

Many studies show reading to your baby in the womb causes the baby’s heart rate to drop, mainly when it’s coming from the mother’s soft, relaxing voice. Reading to your baby doesn’t only help the baby relax, it also helps reduce maternal stress. It will help you relax and slow down, and thoroughly enjoy the early fun moments of parenting and bonding with your child. Nothing reduces stress as much as happiness and love do.

Bonding With Your Unborn Baby Through Reading

Even while your baby is still in the womb, you can experience the bond that usually starts developing after the child is born. All that it takes is for mommy and daddy to read to their baby prenatally. Reading is also a fantastic way for other family members to bond with the baby.

Very often we get caught up in preparing for new life on the practical side, that we forget about the benefits of early attention to the child. Reading to your unborn baby builds a fantastic foundation for future loving relationships.

The Best Books For Your Unborn Baby

It is the process of prenatal reading that matters more than the type of book you choose. However, you apparently shouldn’t read a mystery novel or a thriller while trying to bond with your unborn baby. Reading to your baby should be relaxing and loving, and not stressful in any way. The best books to choose are classic children’s books with cheerful characters and exciting stories. Choose a traditional book or a contemporary, funny fairy tale – whichever you find more interesting. The important thing is to feel calm and loving during the reading process, and you can rest assured it will benefit both you and the baby.

Visit Progressive Rising Phoenix and choose the most heartwarming books to read to your unborn baby!

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How Reading Can Help Your Career

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Reading books isn’t the most popular activity nowadays. We live in the age of technology, where information is always available and thrown at us. We read the news online, we interact with our friends online, and we even listen to music online. The importance of reading a good book seems to have faded over the recent years.

Instead of reading, we often choose to watch Netflix shows, and as much as watching TV can be great, reading is an activity that can help you improve various skills. It enables you to make the most of your naturally given talents, and it helps you develop some new skills that are exclusive to reading.

Let’s talk about ways reading can help you career-wise:

Reading Helps You Beat Stress

Losing yourself in a great book swipes away all the stress of everyday life. A great story will transfer you to another world; it will capture your attention and bring you to another dimension, allowing you to explore different cultures and realms. On the other hand, an engaging article will help you de-stress while keeping you in the present, and providing satisfying new information. It will allow you to relax and let tensions disappear.

The University of Sussex conducted a study, and it revealed that reading might reduce stress by up to 68 percent. It reduces stress better and faster than other popular methods, such as listening to music or drinking tea. A book invites your mind into a different world where the stress triggers from your everyday life don’t exist.

Reading Makes You Smarter

Reading fills your mind with new information. You’re getting more insight into the human psychology, into different cultures, different eras, or countries. The more knowledge and insight you have the better prepared you will be for any challenge that comes your way.

It doesn’t matter what your profession is, or whether you are a janitor or a CEO, more knowledge makes you smarter and sharper. Reading books about your industry will give you the necessary knowledge and confidence to move forward with your career. No matter where you want to get, you will get there faster if you read more.

The More You Read – The Better Your Analytic Skills

You should think of reading as an exercise for the brain. It can force you to get into it and think forward, backward, and sideways. You would be surprised what a good mystery novel can do to your analytical skills. When reading a fascinating book with a lot of mystery in it, your mind is always taking mental notes, trying to remember every specific detail.

Reading Enriches Your Vocabulary

When you read a book, you get exposed to a new world filled with new words and phrases. No two writers are entirely alike. The more you read, the more words you keep seeing and many of these words will make their way into your vocabulary.

Every profession needs people who are well-spoken and articulate. Being able to communicate with a rich vocabulary gives you credibility and enhances your self-confidence.

Visit Progressive Rising Phoenix to explore many exciting titles and start working on your professional skills right now!

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Why You Should Quit Social Media and Read a Book Instead

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Social media, if abused, can be destructive. Before Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, there was a time you didn’t check your phone 50 times a day. You didn’t scroll through your feed looking at other people’s vacation photos or read their rants about their jobs and relationships. You didn’t know what your foodiefriends ate for breakfast, “second breakfast,” lunch, and dinner. And you didn’t find yourself reading the news, questioning their validity and double-checking if they came from a credible source.

And while these social media platforms are meant to keep us more connected than ever, they can make us lose touch of who we are. Before social media, we had actual conversations over coffee; now everyone sits around scrolling through their phones or capturing videos and photos for their Instagram stories, proving that social media is, in fact, making us anti-social.

Do yourself a favor the next time you’re at a café alone or waiting for your turn at the dentist’s office, pull out a good book instead of your smartphone. Remember what it was like to enjoy the uncomplicated joys of getting lost in a good story. Here’s why you should quit social media and read a book instead:

Care for Yourself

Is scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feed the last thing you do before you go to sleep? Is your phone the first thing you reach for when you wake up in the morning? Are you disappointed when you don’t see any new notifications? Do you become depressed when people share their negativity on Facebook? Do you become enraged when people push their political views on Twitter? 

It’s been backed by science that quitting social media can make you happier. Allowing yourself to be a slave to social media affects your health, upsetting you physically and emotionally. It distracts you and keeps you up at night. Reading, on the other hand, has long been proven to do wonders for our health. It relieves us of stress and stimulates our brain. Books leave us satisfied and accomplished. If reading a book is the last thing you do before you go to bed, your mind continues to work and cultivate creativity.

Regain Your Communication Skills

Chatting via social media, tweeting, and DMs have ruined our ability to communicate effectively. Our vocabularies are now spoiled by the OMGs, LOLs, and SMHs. We forego correct spelling to send our messages out faster or to fit more characters into our tweets.

When we read, we regain our wits, feed our intelligence, and even build our vocabularies. We remember the value of genuine communication. We engage in meaningful conversations because we have more than the meme we saw on Instagram to talk about. We exchange ideas that were cultivated from reading literature and non-fiction.

Disconnect to Reconnect

Some people say that social media allows them to be up-to-date on the lives of their friends and family. They will reason that social media is fun and makes them feel connected. But can’t we still be present in the lives of people who matter to us without relying on a digital platform?

When we disconnect from social media, we reconnect with people on a more genuine and meaningful level. And when we read, we reconnect to a time when life was simpler – when all you needed to amuse yourself was a good book.

At Progressive Rising Phoenix, we’ve got new titles that will take you on new adventures, introduce you to new characters to fall in love with, and more reasons to quit social media.

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Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Unplug and Read Every Day

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Are you one of those people who use their tablet or laptop just before going to bed? When you wake up in the morning, is your smartphone the first thing you reach for? Do you check your emails, notifications, text messages, Facebook, and Instagram before you’ve even had breakfast?

Screen addiction is real. And if you find yourself scrolling through your phone each chance you get or panicking when your gadget is dangerously low on battery, you may have a problem. But if you’re ready to admit you have issues with detaching yourself from your mobile devices, then you’ve already taken the first step to regaining control.

It’s time you unplugged and turned to an activity that offers more benefits than scrolling through your Facebook feed. Here are the top six reasons why you should disconnect and read instead:

  1. Learn New Things

Reading helps you expand your knowledge. Textbooks aren’t the only types of books that are educational. You can learn plenty from a good autobiography and other works of nonfiction.

  1. Expand Your Vocabulary

Whether you’re reading a romance novel, a murder-mystery, or an epic adventure, books can help you discover new words. Add these new words to your vocabulary and become more articulate. The more you read, the more you build your language skills. And it will even help you improve your writing.

  1. Stimulate Your Brain

Staying mentally stimulated is your best defense against cognitive decline. Reading emails, Tweets, and Instagram captions all day doesn’t do much for our brain health. In fact, they may be harming us by not being compelling enough to get our minds engaged. Find a book that will activate your brain to think creatively.

  1. Reduce Stress

Everyday responsibilities can cause stress. The right book can take your mind off things and help you release tension. The best stories allow us to forget about our troubles and the strains of work, school, and life. They even take us away from our own thoughts, allowing us to relax and manage our anxiety.

  1. Escape

From the news to friends who reveal all their drama on Facebook – continually being online exposes us to the harsh truths of life. And while we shouldn’t ignore them entirely, it’s good to escape from them every once in awhile. A good book can take you to distant lands and on epic adventures, distracting us momentarily from sadness and disappointments of reality.

  1. Improved Memory

Books are filled with characters, places, backstories, and subplots that help us train our memories. The more you read, the better your focus and concentration.

It will surprise you how much better the quality of your life will be when you unplug and read each day. It can be as short as 20 minutes or as long as a few hours. When you disconnect from electronics and your gadgets, you rediscover the simple joys of trusting your imagination to keep you entertained.

If you’re done with relying on the Internet and your smartphone to keep you amused, Progressive Rising Phoenixhas excellent titles to keep you company when you unplug and make reading a daily habit.

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7 Ways to Kick Start and Cultivate a Lifetime Reading Habit

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In school, the most commonly read books include Hamlet, Huckleberry Finn, The Scarlet Letter, and The Great Gatsby. While these are some of the greatest novels ever written, reading any book that was assigned to you will always feel like a chore.

It’s a shame that forcing kids to read books they find boring is enough to turn them off from reading as adults. Fortunately, it’s never too late to cultivate a reading habit. There’s plenty of material to choose from. And the best part is, you can do it for fun and know you won’t be tested on it later. Here are seven ways to kick start your reading habit:

  1. Find What You Love

Usually, people who develop a reading habit do so after reading a book compelling enough to get them hooked. It could be fiction, self-help, romance, autobiographical, murder mystery, or young adult. Think about what interests you and do your research on that genre. Read reviews and listen to recommendations. The type of books that will probably interest you most will be close to the kind of movies you love.

  1. Make a List

The more you read, the more you will look for new titles to consume after you finish the last one. Keep the momentum going by keeping a list of books you want to read next. It doesn’t hurt to buy them in advance.

  1. Join a Book Club

One of the best ways to get into the habit of reading is to surround yourself with people who love to read. Book clubs are great for fostering friendships, exchanging ideas, and discovering books outside your radar. Most importantly, a book club will help you read consistently.

  1. Unplug

If you’ve decided to devote more time to reading, then you need to reduce distractions such as the TV and Internet. It’s as simple as turning off your gadgets and keeping them out of sight and sound.

  1. Read to Your Kid

By reading to your children, you not only reinforce your habits, but you instill the value of reading to your kids. It’s the way to ensure your children grow up to love reading too. Depending on how old your kids are, take turns reading to each other.

  1. Commit to a Schedule

Set a time each day or week to devote to reading. It could be ten minutes to an hour. It could even be a commitment to finish one chapter each day. How much and how often you read it is entirely up to you. It may surprise you when a time comes when you have set a limit to how much you read because you’re so hooked.

  1. Experiment

Don’t be afraid to read books that weren’t written for your demographic. People read to get away from reality, immerse themselves in history, or get lost in the lives of others. There are no rules. Once you’ve found what you love, challenge yourself to try a new genre. You might develop an interest in something you least expected.

At Progressive Rising Phoenix, our vast variety of award-winning titles in mystery, suspense, action, adventure, fantasy, romance, historical fiction, and sci-fi, can help you kickstart a lifetime habit of reading.

Contact ustoday, and we’ll help get you started.