3 Ways To Make Reading Easier (And More Fun) When You Have ADD Or ADHD

Reading doesn't have to feel exhausting.

reading a book add adhd getty

Have you ever picked up a book, fully intending to read it, only to lose interest just a few pages in? Or have you ever been reading a book then your mind starts to wander, you space out, and then you suddenly realize you’ve read three pages but don’t remember a thing?

Reading with Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder can be very difficult. You may struggle with memory issues, or you may feel like reading just takes way, way too much time.


As per usual, with ADD/ADHD, your personal experience could be very different when it comes to reading books.

RELATED: 3 Biggest Signs Your Child Has ADD/ADHD

Some folks with ADD/ADHD can hyperfocus, allowing them to plow through an entire book in record time. Others can barely read a chapter before completely losing interest.


There are a few different strategies on how to read a book with ADD/ADHD, which helps with reading comprehension and maybe even get you to the point where reading can feel like a fun leisure activity!

1. Read for pleasure.

For some people, reading for pleasure is the ultimate escape. They can get into a good book like a warm bath, spending hours in another world. For others, reading for pleasure can be extraordinarily boring. It’s just words on a page, so how do you get into that?

If you have ADD/ADHD, there is a good chance that reading for pleasure can seem like far more work than it is worth. But there are a few strategies that can help you to enjoy the experience.


Similar to many ADD/ADHD strategies, proper scheduling and time-management are key. Just sitting down to read can be very difficult if it is completely unstructured time. Schedule your reading, like you would anything else in your day. Or, instead of sitting down to read for an hour, give yourself goals.

Say, "I’m going to read two chapters today" and stick with that. If you find your focus keeps getting broken, you should take frequent breaks.

Many people look down on comic books as just for kids, but that is a very limited point of view. There are brilliant works of fiction that have been written in comic book form, and they can be perfect for adults with ADD/ADHD (or anyone else for that matter).

Fairytale works like Bone by Jeff Smith or the superhero-deconstruction comic Watchmen by Alan Moore are considered to be classics and well worth a read. The mixture of words and pictures can help someone with ADD/ADHD maintain their focus, as there is more stimulation on the page than just letters.


And, as comic books are usually released in monthly issues, they are already divided into easily manageable chunks.

RELATED: 8 Surprisingly Simple Ways To Get (And Stay!) Organized When You Have ADD

2. Read like you're studying.

Struggling with reading can especially be a nightmare for students. The work can really pile up when you are in college or any other post-secondary education program, especially around exam time, making studying a major problem.


A great study tip is to make reading more active. Don’t just read the words on the page, try taking lots of notes as you read, which can help you better retain information. Highlight things in a book to reinforce important passages.

Reading out loud can be a great strategy for absorbing what you’re reading. It can be a bit slower, but if you really need to work to remember a passage, speaking it out loud will help you retain the information.

Reading shouldn't be a passive exercise — you should do things that help you get engaged with the words on the page. 

Just like with reading for pleasure, make sure you schedule your reading and studying. Break everything up into more manageable chunks. If you find your attention wandering, move onto another subject rather than try to fruitlessly power through.


3. Try audiobooks.

Audiobooks are fantastic. Yes, they are a completely different method of "reading" from picking up a book, but that doesn't make them any less enjoyable.

The great thing about "reading" an audiobook is that you can multitask while you do it. Need to clean the house? Put on an audiobook to listen to while you tidy up. Want to go for a walk or have some exercise? Toss on a pair of headphones before you go.

If you find the audiobook is going a bit too slow for you, most audiobook apps (like Audible or Apple Books) allow you to speed up the audio without changing the pitch of the reader. So you will be able to get through the book faster without it sounding like Alvin and the Chipmunks are reading it to you.


Here is another little secret about reading: The more you read, the easier it will become.

It’s like a muscle — by training your brain, you will be able to improve your reading comprehension and speed. This is true for both people with and without ADD/ADHD. At first, it can be quite a struggle to get through a book, but the more you read, the better you will become at it.

RELATED: 8 Glaring Signs You (Or Someone You Love) Might Have ADHD

Tereasa Jones a coach, a writer, a program creator, an instructor for other coaches, a speaker and a leader with 20+ years of experience in Relationship Coaching, ADHD Coaching, and Friendship Coaching. Visit her website and sign up for her free e-book.


YourTango may earn an affiliate commission if you buy something through links featured in this article.