A little while ago I wrote an article called ‘How to Read a Book When You Have ADHD’. Its aim was to stop ADHDers from feeling guilty if they didn’t read books in the traditional linear way.
After that article, people emailed me asking for tips to read novels, which do have to be read beginning to end. Lots of people said their mind would wander or they would stop reading half way through the book even if they were enjoying it.
This article is about the benefits of reading books on a Kindle when you have ADHD.
But I love books!
I hear you, I love books too. Everything about them makes me happy, from the information they contain and their texture to the comforting feeling of turning pages. I also love buildings that have books in them, like book stores and libraries.
This is why when ereaders first came out, I didn’t think they were for me.
Then, 8 years ago, my book, Untapped Brilliance was going to be available on Kindle. I wanted to understand more about Kindle and see how Untapped Brilliance would be formatted.
Without that incentive, I doubt I would have tried one. However, I am so glad I did! It changed my reading experience completely and all my
ADHD clients too. So, if possible, keep an open mind as you are reading the rest of this article.
7 Reasons why Kindles are awesome when you have ADHD
1. Choose your font style
You get to choose your own font, which sounds like a ‘nice to have’ feature. However, if you pick a font that is easy for you to read, you don’t have to work so hard to read, and your brain is less likely to wander off. When you stay focused on the text, you can get wrapped up in the story, which in turn means you want to keep reading to find out what happens next.
There is a special font called ‘OpenDyslexic’. The font was especially designed to help common dyslexia problems, such as changing, turning , switching and melting words together, rather than designed for how pretty the font looks.
The letters aren’t uniform, and the thing that helps me the most is they are weighted at the bottom, which helps to stop turning letters around.
I find I am reading faster and more accurately. I use to have to go back and reread sentences until they made sense. Now they usually make sense the first time.
This font can help some readers who have ADHD and don’t have dyslexia, so it’s worth checking out. And the great thing is, if it doesn’t help you, it only takes a few seconds to change the font back.
2. Choose the size of your font
You can make the font as big as is comfortable for your eyes. I make mine quite big. It’s not an eye sight thing; it seems to make processing the information easier.
Also, a large font means there are less words on the screen, so less chance to feel overwhelmed. Another advantage is it is easier to keep your eyes focused on the next word rather than jumping to the lines above or below.
Having the same font style and size, for every book you read is helpful too. You don’t have to adapt with each new book.
Lots of people say, ‘Oh but I am on a screen all day. I don’t want to spend more time on a screen’ The screen isn’t shiny like a computer screen. It is ‘non glare’, which makes them easier on the eyes because they reflect light like paper.
In fact, some readers find reading on a Kindle easier than reading from white paper pages that can cause ‘visual stress’.
5. Reading Goals
The Kindle tells you what percentage of the book you have read so far for example 11%. This means you can set yourself mini reading goals. You might say, ‘I wonder if I can get to15% before dinner’. Creating goals like this is motivating and helps you to keep reading. When you reach your goal,can set another goal or take a break.
6. Free samples
You can download a free sample to read before you buy the whole book. If you don’t get absorbed in the sample, that is a sign! Only start to read books that you find really interesting. Downloading a free sample is also a good way to support your prospective memory. You have a visual reminder of the books you would like to read, without having to buy them.
7. Downsizing your book collection is easy
As amazing as paper books are, they do take up space and get weighty. Every time I have moved, the movers complain about how many heavy boxes of books they had to carry. Having too many belongings is a problem for ADHDers, and giving books away can be hard because each feels like a friend.
A great thing about reading books on your Kindle is you don’t have to get rid of them. They can sit happily on your Kindle, barely taking up any space at all. You can carry 100’s of books at one time in your handbag, and it will still be lighter than 1 paper back.
Downsizing your book collection isn’t a chore…because you don’t have to!
Other things to Consider
Because I didn’t think I would like reading much on the Kindle, I just got the cheapest one. It was $79. This turned out to be a huge blessing. It doesn’t have super fancy features. It’s just for reading. This means it is easy to stay focused on my book.
Now I have the Paperweight Kindle, which is great because I can read in the dark and not wake my fiancé Dave up!
What about the Kindle App?
There is a Kindle app that you can download to read books on your phone or tablet. There are pros and cons.
There is a feature on the Kindle app called Word Runner (check the menu in the right hand side when reading a book). It shows you one word at a time, and you can set the speed. Someone I know uses this and loves it. She sets it fast so is forced to concentrate. “I know it helps me focus A LOT better and read faster. I can visualize the story just as well too, probably because my focus is so intense”
It’s worth checking out and seeing if it’s helpful for you.
The 2 main downsides to the app verses the Kindle ereader are
- Phones etc have shiny screens, which can make reading tiring.
- It might be tempting to start surfing the web or texting rather than reading your book.
I have only needed to contact customer service twice, and each time they were very helpful and friendly.
This week I thought to get a separate Kindle device to help focus and complete reading my books without the natural ability to get so distracted with the Android app on my phone!
I stumbled onto your website after googling \”did Robin Willimas have ADHD?\” as I was watching a special about him. I loved him but never thought to pinpoint his ADHD because he was naturally himself and it didn\’t feel any different to me, as I too am ADHD.
I subscribed to your newsletter. Thank you for this valuable resource!
I love reading but I get distracted so easily that I rarely can finish a page and I often re-read sentences or paragraphs by accident. I definitely agree with all you have to say about e-readers! I’ve had the original “Nook” for about 10 years – no touch screen (What?!) and no way to get distracted by texts or internet. I like to look up words I don’t know as I go so the built in dictionary is great – keeps me on my page! The battery lasts for a few weeks, too because, as you stated, it doesn’t have a back light like a tablet or phone. BUT your books still sync to your other devices just in case you find yourself with a few minutes to read a page! I also hate holding open large books because my hand cramps up so the e-reader is ideal for comfort on the beach or in bed! Nook also offers a free book every Friday! Might not be your favorite genre, but worth looking at. Also, you can share a book with a friend for a limited time. If your friends are fast readers or just want to check out the book that is a great money saver as well! (Nook is through Barnes & Noble). Kindle is friendlier if you are in Canada! We tell our children to read 20 minutes a day…we should show them we read, too! Stay warm Jacqui and everyone!
Hi Paris! that is great to know about Nooks. And what a great feature that you get a free book every Friday. Sounds like a great way to get introduced to new books that you wouldn’t otherwise read. 20minutes a day habit!
I sign up for your adhd information / and you say check your e-mail and confirm your (my) e-mail address. I never get any response.
Canada has strict anti spam rules (which are a good thing!). So in order to receive the Untapped brilliance newsletter or free report etc, , you just have confirm that you want it.
I checked my system and it sent you 5 emails, so just press the link in any of those emails and you will get the ADHD information. If they aren’t in your inbox, check your spam folder.