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How Parents Can Encourage Teens to Read

You know that reading is important and you want to make sure that your teenager grows into adulthood with all the skills he or she needs to succeed. The following list offers suggestions for encouraging your teens to read.

1. Set an example. Let your kids see you reading for pleasure.

2. Furnish your home with a variety of reading materials. Leave books, magazines, and newspapers around. Check to see what disappears for a clue to what interests your teenager.

3. Give teens an opportunity to choose their own books . When you and your teen are out together, browse in a bookstore or library. Go your separate ways and make your own selections. A bookstore gift certificate is a nice way of saying, “You choose”.

4. Build on your teen’s interests. Look for books and articles that feature their favorite sports teams, rock stars, hobbies, or TV shows. Give a gift subscription to a special interest magazine.

5. View pleasure reading as a value in itself. Almost anything your youngsters read — including the Sunday comics — helps build reading skills.

6. Read some books written for teens. Young adult novels can give you valuable insights into the concerns and pressures felt by teenagers. You may find that these books provide a neutral ground on which to talk about sensitive subjects.

7. Make reading aloud a natural part of family life. Share an article you clipped from the paper, a poem, a letter, or a random page from an encyclopedia — without turning it into a lesson.

8. Acknowledge your teen’s mature interests. Look for ways to acknowledge the emerging adult in your teens by suggesting some adult reading you think they can handle.

9. Keep the big picture in mind. For all sorts of reasons, some teenagers go through periods without showing much interest in reading. Don’t panic! Time, and a few tips from this brochure, may help rekindle their interest.

Used with permission from Reading is Fundamental .