With iPods, cell phones, tablets, laptops and TV trying to use up every second of our teen‘s day, it can be hard to encourage them to read. You know – a book! It’s fun to tease our kids about reading and reminding them what a B-O-O-K is, but really, it’s no laughing matter. We have to encourage our kids to read. It’s important!
Check out these scary statistics: more than 60 percent of middle and high school students scored below “proficient” in reading achievement, according to a December 2011 report by the Alliance for Excellent Education.
Rhiannon Paille, 27, an advocate for teen literacy whose new fantasy novel, Flame of Surrender (www.yafantasyauthor.com) targets young adults, has offered up these tips to help encourage 12- to 18-year-olds’ to read – well anything!
• Buy them comic books. Boys persistently lag behind girls in reading, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, Paille says. If your son isn’t a reader, try getting him hooked on comic books. “Stephen King started off reading comics, ‘Tales from the Crypt.’ Hey, if it was good enough for him …!’’ From comic books, they may move into graphic novels, a popular young adult genre. As long as they’re reading, they’re building comprehension skills and vocabulary, so it needn’t be “War and Peace.”
• Look for book-to-film novels. Chances are if it was a great movie, they saw it, and that’s often enough to get a non-reader curious. This is another especially good hook for boys, Paille says.
• Tune into what they’re interested in. What kinds of video games do they play? Some popular games have spawned novels, including Halo, EverQuest, ElfQuest and Gears of War. Even gaming guides, which players read to unlock new clues to advancing in the game, can motivate a teen to crack a book.
• Read the same book your teen is reading. Book clubs are popular because people like talking to others who’ve read the same book. Your teen may not be ready for an evening of petit fours and grape juice while discussing the pacing of “Hunger Games,” but it can make for some interesting conversation on the way to soccer practice. And you can always nudge them along with comments like, “Oh, you haven’t gotten to that part yet? It’s really good!”
These are great tips. I am a known YA novel junkie, so reading what my teen is reading isn’t a problem for me. Both of our older kids love it when I can discuss a book with them and I actually know what they’re talking about. And then if the book is turned into a movie, well – we end up reading the book(s) again. i.e. The Hunger Games
Do you have an issue with getting your teens to read? If so, what tricks and tips can you share?