4 Tips for Getting Teens Excited About Reading

October 21, 2015
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Ages: 9 and Up

I’m pretty lucky as a mom. My daughter loves to read. My husband pointed out today that her book-bag weighs 50 pounds. There are exactly two spiral notebooks in it. The other 49.5 pounds come from books she’s reading for pleasure.

 

I was a big reader as a kid, so it makes me happy that she loves to read – and more so now that she’s starting to read material I enjoy as well (Trading The Hungry Caterpillar for The Hunger Games? Upgrade!). However, I do worry that as she heads into the wonderful world of full-blown teenagedom, she may lose interest, or more likely time, for this very important habit.

 

So I was excited to hear about Teen Read Week, a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association that is held annually in October. This celebration of reading is a teen itself – in 2015 it commemorates 17 years of spotlighting all the great resources and activities available to help adolescents build literacy skills. The site offers tons of great tips to get teens excited about reading. I recommend parents of tweens and teens everywhere check out the site. Here are a few more ideas:

 

Audiobooks – If your child has any sort of workout time, getting them access to recorded books is a great way to keep them entertained while exercising. We listen to audiobooks all the time in the car, and the best part is that my daughter often reads the book after listening to it.

 

Write – If you have a teen who likes to write, tie that into reading. It’s well-timed that Teen Read Week comes right before NANOWRIMO (a month-long writing challenge, which my daughter and I are both tackling this year). One way I told her to get prepared was to read as much as she could this month (hence the 49.5 pound backpack) in order to determine what kind of genre she is interested in, the approach she wants to take, and what elements published books contain.

 

Short Stories – One of the biggest obstacles to getting teenagers to read is the investment of time. Between school, TV, jobs, social time, parties, friends, fighting with parents, gossiping, after-school activities, texting, eating, sports, sleeping, videogames, showering, and homework (okay, that last one was maybe aspirational), our teens have a severe deficit of free time. Short stories can be quickly digested and cater to the short-attention-span mentality that most teens possess. Plus, reading three stories in the time it takes to read half a novel provides a feeling of accomplishment that will keep your teen coming back for more.

 

Magazines – Reading doesn’t have to be confined to books. Teens love magazines of all types and reading is reading, right? Not so coincidentally, amazing, award-winning, and entertaining stories and articles for teens and tweens are found each month in both Cicada and Cricket. Putting these magazines in front your reluctant teen reader may help keep them off their phone for 10 or even 20 extra minutes a day. Hey, that’s something, right?

 

Cricket Media Mom is currently reading and just wants to be left alone! Please go away and don’t come in here without knocking first next time! Jeez!

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