mom teaching her daughter how to read

Buried in Books: Things to Do to Get Your Teen into Reading

It’s now a rare thing to see a teenager holding a book, let alone read it. What you will see instead are young people’s necks bent over smartphones, giggling over Facebook likes or cat videos online. But we all know the mind-enriching perks of reading a book, from expanding vocabulary and sparking creativity to improving analytical skills and sharpening empathy. If you want your teen to get into the habit of reading, here are some strategies that you can try:

Zoom in on their interests.

When you encourage teens to read, it’s usually met with grumbling followed by either of these excuses: “It’s hard” or “It’s boring.” Reading can be such drudgery. How do you make it fun, easy, and exciting? Latch on to their interests. If they’re always watching teenage love and relationships on TV, perhaps the romance books will be interesting.

If they’re so hooked to the supernatural, let them get their hands on horror novels. If they’re into nerdy stuff, sci-fi is the best choice. The principle is, take cues from their interests. Avoid the mistake of telling them to read and do it. They won’t, for sure.

Moreover, resist the urge to dictate what to read. Recommend based on what they already like themselves. Let them choose. They will have greater ownership of what they’re doing if you do it this way.

Talk about what they’ve read.

It’s natural for teens to talk about the things they find engaging. So when they’re reading something that excites them, expect them to chatter about it. Seize those moments and engage them. Yes, it might take a little bit more of an effort to understand the plot of a sci-fi novel, but try to tune in with what your teen is saying.

Ask them questions. Maybe not about the details of the story or the characters, but things like what excites your child, why they can relate to the protagonist, what they would do if they encountered the plot’s conflict. In short, ask questions that let them think and reflect. This is one of the core principles of high schools in Gilbert. Apply the same concept at home, over dinner and backyard barbecue parties.

Let them join book clubs

kids readingOnce your teen has picked up the habit of reading, sustain it by encouraging them to be part of a book club. The more that they’re exposed to this hobby, the more they’ll appreciate it. Plus, when they see that other teens are into it, that it can be as “cool” as joining the soccer team or school band, they’ll grow fonder of it.

So reach out to their teachers and consult them about literary organizations that your child can join. If there aren’t any yet, maybe your query will prompt educators to form one. Perhaps your child and their peers can be mobilized to promote the club at the campus. This can increase the feeling of ownership and commitment.

Reading does a lot of wonders to teens’ minds. Unfortunately, it’s not exercised enough, with gadgets and social media vying for their attention. The good news is that you can influence your child. Remember these strategies as you do it.

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