Reading is essential for children of all ages. It helps develop vocabulary, improve communication skills, and promote critical thinking. Even six minutes of reading a day can help improve your child’s reading performance. However, getting teens to pick up a book can be challenging.
When they were younger, reading to your children may have kickstarted their love for reading, but you can continue to encourage this habit as they grow older. There are many benefits to reading as a teenager, including:
- Enhanced vocabulary and communication skills;
- Improved concentration and focus;
- Stimulated imagination;
- An outlet for relaxation;
- More nuanced perspective and understanding of the world.
While it can be challenging to get started, teens can reap all these benefits once they find a book they enjoy.
One way to get your teen to read is to provide incentives. This could mean buying them books and giving them the chance tosell them back for profit after they read them. You can also offer rewards for reading a certain number of pages or chapters. Another option is to set aside time each day for reading, during which your teen can have uninterrupted screen time.
Other incentives may include:
- Gift certificates to their favorite bookstores;
- Tickets to a play or movie based on a book they’ve read;
- A new piece of technology, like an e-reader;
- An allowance increase.
These incentives can be given for completing specific reading goals, such as reading for a set amount of time each day or reading a certain number of books each month.
Let Social Media Influence Them
Social media can have a big influence on teenagers. In addition to keeping up with their friends, they’re also exposed to various content, including book recommendations. You can use this to your advantage by encouraging your kids to follow Booktube and Booktok, where they can watch book-related videos and find new book recommendations.
You can also encourage your teens to follow book influencers on social media, which can help them discover new titles and authors they may be interested in reading. Moreover, many bookstores now have sections dedicated to popular book trends, making it easy for teens to find the latest must-read books.
With so much book-related content available online, it’s easy for teens to find something they’re interested in reading and connect with other booklovers.
Acknowledge Any Speed Bumps
Teens may be reluctant to read if they’ve had a bad experience with reading in the past. Maybe they struggled with reading as a younger child and were made to feel embarrassed or ashamed. As a result, they may view reading as a chore rather than a pleasure.
It’s important to acknowledge any speed bumps your teen has encountered while trying to read. Reassure them that it’s normal to find reading difficult at times and offer to help them select books at their level. You can also provide encouragement and praise when they manage to read a book, even if it takes them longer than other kids their age.
Furthermore, remind your teen that there are other ways to enjoy reading, such as listening to audiobooks, reading eBooks, or graphic novels. Whether your teen prefers a physical book or an electronic one, they can develop a love for reading that will last a lifetime.
If your teen has dyslexia, they may find reading difficult or feel discouraged. However, many accommodations can help, such as using a text-to-speech app or listening to audiobooks. There are also dyslexia-friendly book series, such as the Harry Potter books, which are available in audio format and have been adapted to include a larger print, glare reduction, and other navigational aids.
ADD/ADHD/Short Attention Spans
If your teen has ADD/ADHD or a short attention span, they may have trouble sitting still and reading for long periods. However, there are ways to help them focus while they’re reading.
For instance, you can encourage them to take breaks every 20 minutes or so and do a physical activity, such as jumping on a trampoline or going for a walk. In addition, you can help them select shorter books that are more engaging and offer rewards for reading a certain number of pages each day.
You can also try to create a calm and distraction-free environment for them to read in, such as a space without TV and other electronic devices. Most importantly, let them choose what they want to read, so they’re more likely to be engaged with the material.
If your teen is a slow reader or has difficulty comprehending longer books, they may get discouraged or give up reading altogether. To help them stick with it, look for shorter books that are easier to understand. You can also try breaking the book up into smaller sections and reading a little bit each day.
In addition, you can help them select books that are of interest to them, so they’re more likely to be engaged with the material. For instance, if they’re interested in history, you can look for historical fiction books or biographies of famous figures.
Model Healthy Reading Habits
One of the best ways to encourage your teen to read is by modeling healthy reading habits yourself. Let them see you reading for pleasure regularly and talk to them about why you enjoy it.
In addition, try to create a home environment that promotes reading. For instance, you can have a designated reading spot with comfy chairs and plenty of books in your house. You can also encourage other family members to read so your teen has role models of all ages.
Let Teens Choose What To Read
It’s important to let your teenager choose what they want to read, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer suggestions. Try to provide a variety of options and genres for them to choose from to find something they’re interested in.
Books With Movie Adaptations
Many teens enjoy watching movies, so you can use that to your advantage and suggest books with movie adaptations. For instance, if they liked the Twilight saga movies, you can suggest they read the books. Or, if they’re interested in dystopian novels, you can recommend The Hunger Games or Divergent.
They may be more interested in the book if they’re already invested in the story, and they can also compare and contrast the two versions. In addition, they may be inspired to read other books by the same author or in the same genre.
Another way to get your teen to read is by suggesting fast-paced series with familiar characters. For instance, those looking for books full of magic and adventure might enjoy the Shadow and Bone Trilogy. The Dresden Files is another option, as it’s a mystery series with a quick-moving plot. Or, perhaps they’re looking for romance options such as the Throne of Glass series.
When your teen gets invested in the characters and story, they’ll be more likely to keep reading. In addition, they can easily breeze through these shorter books and feel a sense of accomplishment.
YA Novels That Hit Home
YA novels can be an important source of guidance and support for teenagers as they navigate the challenges of adolescence. While many YA books focus on lighthearted topics like first loves and high school drama, others tackle more serious themes like mental health, addiction, and social justice. These novels can provide valuable perspectives on complex issues that teens regularly struggle with.
In addition, books can offer hope and inspiration by depicting characters who overcome personal adversities. By offering honest and realistic portrayals of the teen experience, YA novels can help young people to feel less alone in the world and better equipped to handle whatever life throws their way.
Overall, there are many ways to inspire your teen to read. By finding a path that works for them, you can help set them up for a lifetime of enjoyment of reading.