The 15-minute reading challenge
My challenge for you is this: to read a book for 15 minutes every single day for a month.
Let me explain a bit, by telling you where the challenge came from. I have many things in common with my dad, like music taste and sense of humour, but sadly reading isn't one of them. I can happily spend a whole day curled up with a book, but my dad can't read a book for longer than about 5 minutes. He reads emails, websites and documents for work, but not books. He is a busy person, with a short attention span, so I think that sitting down to read for just 15 minutes a day is a good way to relax and to introduce him to reading. Giving yourself a goal or challenge is a good way to change a habit or achieve something, so why not try to create a new habit of reading?
My dad is by no means the only person who avoids books. I know lots of people would rather relax on their computers or in front of the TV. Everyone is different and has their own interests, but I think there are lots of benefits to reading, which screen-based activities (games, films, TV) don't have.
Firstly, it's better for your eyes. Looking at screens can be very stressful for your eye muscles, and apparently you should avoid looking at screens for an hour before bed, to get a good night's sleep.
One thing I personally love about reading, is being transported to another world - I often forget the time or things that are going on around me! Reading is a great way to switch off before you go to bed, because you think more about the world of the book, rather than the real world and the problems you have during the day, so you can truly relax. I know you can be transported to a different world in a film or a TV show, but I think books do it better. While watching a film, I often talk to my flatmates, send texts, or paint my nails. A book, on the other hand, commands your full attention.
I also love people. I am nosy, enjoy hearing what people are doing, and finding out what people think. Reading gives me the chance to get to know hundreds of new people! It also teaches you to see things from other people's point of view, and understand other people's decisions or opinions. With a book, you can hear everything a character is thinking or feeling - you really can be inside someone else's head!
So give it a go! Take 15 minutes when you're waking up, going to bed, eating lunch, or having a coffee. If you read a lot, why not try 15 minutes of an English book, or pass the challenge on to someone else? Good luck, and happy reading!