He (the Prophet) used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira where he used to worship (Allaah alone) continuously for many days before his desire to see his family. He used to take with him the journey food, for the stay and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food likewise again till suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira. The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, "I do not know how to read."
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) added,
"The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, 'I do not know how to read.' Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, 'I do not know how to read (or what shall I read)?' Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said, 'Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all that exists) has created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. "(Q96:1·3)
This was how the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) started receiving revelation. You must have heard this story over and again. But the gist is not in the beginning of the revelation itself but in the first instruction that was passed to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): Read! This instruction is not meant for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) alone it is relevant to everyone of us as Muslims.
We have to read because it is important to learn. We have to learn about how to earn our living and more importantly, learn about the religion of Islam. Many of us take for granted the fact that we have to read. But the truth is that for us to be able to learn anything substantial we have to cultivate the habit of reading. Although there are other ways of learning such as listening, watching and observing, but the best and most comprehensive way of learning is reading.
By reading, a Muslim gains an advantage over others because he can not be pushed around by anybody. But if he does not read, people will just push him around because he does not have any insight about what they are talking about. As a matter of fact his religion may even be at stake! That is why some people lost their faith simply because somebody said the Muslims worship some idols inside the Ka'bah and they never bothered to find out by reading!
What do you read?
A Muslim especially youth, must read everything that he sees that is beneficial to him; religious and mundane. By reading religious (Islamic) books, you are protecting your Hereafter and by reading mundane books you are securing for yourself a comfortable life. Stay away from materials that may corrupt your thinking or your morals.
If you find it difficult reading, one of the ways to solve that problem is to start with something (permissible) that you enjoy. Read until you are tired. Then come back when you feel like reading and read until you are tired. Repeat this over and again. After this, you can now begin to read things that are less interesting. Insha Allaah, it will soon become second nature to you. This is a personal experience and I hope it is going to work for you too.