Teens and Books: Encouraging Them to Read
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Teens and Books: Encouraging Them to Read

Sometimes it takes creative thinking and strategic planning to get your teenagers to enjoy reading on their own.

As a parent, you love books. They are stacked on shelves and piled everywhere in your home and you always have one or two you are in the middle of reading.   As a child, you could be found squirreled away in some forgotten corner of the house with your face buried deep in the pages of your favorite novel.

Now you have children of your own and are so disappointed to find that they have no love for books or reading. You found so much pleasure from the stories you read and wish that they could have the same wonderful experiences. Unfortunately the most they will do is page absently through a current magazine or maybe read the comics in the local newspaper. You'd really like to see them pick up a good book, be excited about the contents, and read it from cover to cover. And maybe even read it again.  And again.

Some suggestions to encourage those teenagers in your home to want to read not just one book but many are as follows:

  • Set an example by continuing to enjoy reading yourself. Maybe talk about the plots of  particularly interesting thrillers or mysteries to strike their curiousity. Leave your books around the house for a few days after you finish them. Maybe they'll become curious and pick one up.
  • Magazines are reading too - subscribe to several teen publications and leave them around the house. It is a start and there are so many great magazines to choose from. Subscribe to some that your children may have some interests in and scatter them throughout your home. The bathroom and family room are great places to leave them.
  • Purchase books based on their favorite movies. If you hear your child discussing a film he wants to see or one that he really enjoyed, get the book and leave it out where he can find it. Maybe even read it yourself first. 
  • Look for great cover art. Sometimes the illustrations alone will lure teens into opening a book. Colorful book jackets and interesting and compelling pictures may be just what is needed to spark their curiousity.
  • Buy a novel on something that is important to them or touching their lives in the now.  For example, if your daughter is trying out for the cheerleading team, pick a story based on the same. 
  • Teens love to get mail. Subscribe to a teen book club and have the books delivered with his/her name on the envelope.
  • Play books on tape when traveling. They may not act like they are listening but they are. And it will make the miles fly by for everyone. 

If none of these tactics work, don't despair. Sometimes it takes time and eventually growing up in a house full of reading materials is bound to rub off on them.  It may take until they are adults to start the reading habit but you will have set the foundation for a lifetime of enjoyment.  

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