We’ve written before about encouraging younger children to discover the joy of reading, but what about reluctant teens? Below are a few strategies that just may help avoid future battles:
1. Don’t be a censor or a critic. This could discourage teens from reading at all. Let teens make their own reading selections, whether it’s graphic novels (which are extremely popular right now), books about wizards or vampires, books about rock stars, whatever they are naturally drawn to. These may not be your preferences, but something in those books is peaking your son’s interest. It’s a great launching point on the road to learning the joy of reading. You don’t have to agree that reading from an e-reader is better than a paperback, or that the current zombie series is a worthwhile selection. If you don’t encourage the activity then you risk him backing off entirely, and that’s not what you want.
2. Suggest a series to your teen. There are many popular choices right now and some have been made into movies that your teen might recognize. Getting hooked on familiar characters or intriguing story lines is a great inducement to picking up volume two, then three, then on and on.
3. Link that new-found interest in the (above) series to social media.Since most teens are entrenched in social media and there are blogs on every subject imaginable on the internet, websites and Facebook, send your teen a link to those pages, after checking them out yourself. He might even want to contribute by doing a little posting on those pages as well!
4. Use the dinner table to discuss what your teen is reading. Let him recount the story to you. Ask questions, be genuinely enthusiastic.
5. If your teen has an interest in a hobby, creative skill, sports, current politics or societal issues, connect those interests to books and articles. Whether it’s a book, a newspaper article, a blog or something you come across on the web, pass it along to your teen. He might just latch on to something he’d like to delve into with further reading.
6. Last but not least, model reading yourself. Create an environment full of books and other reading materials in your home and let your teen see you reading! Let him see that this is a part of your day, every day, and he’ll be more likely to follow your example – or “take a page out of your….book.” Pun intended!