Wish you had more time to read? Well, you probably already have the time, says cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham, professor and director of graduate studies in psychology at the University of Virginia and author of Why Don’t Students Like School? His latest book is When Can You Trust The Experts? How to tell good science from bad in education. This appeared on his Science and Education blog.

By Daniel Willingham

We all know that most Americans don’t read much. A recent poll showed that a common reason they don’t read is “lack of time.” Fifty-one percent suggested that was a major factor that kept them from reading more books.

It’s tempting to quote Sir John Lubbock: “In truth, people can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is lacking.” That’s the line of thinking taken in this Atlantic blog post,noting that many of us spend plenty of time watching television.

This line of argument is true enough, but probably won’t help much. So without scolding, here are some ideas on how to think about reading and time differently.

1) Don’t assume that that you have to have a long block of time to read. Bit and pieces add up. If you think “I need at least thirty minutes of uninterrupted time to get into the book,” well, try fitting reading into the bits and pieces of time in your day. You’re ready to go out and your spouse isn’t? There’s five minutes. Long line in the grocery store? There’s five minutes.
 

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