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7 Ways to Get Your Teen to Read More This Summer
Reading is important any time of year but especially during the summer to avoid the dreaded “summer slide.” The “summer slide” refers to children losing skills they learn during the school year because they aren’t using them in the summer. Reading during the summer months can help make sure your teen isn’t falling behind when school starts up again. Even if your teen is not normally a reader, there are several ways to encourage reading throughout the summer.
Read What They Love
One of the most important ways to get your teen reading is to let them read what they love. If they are passionate about something, they will want to know more about it. For every topic, there are books available in both fiction and nonfiction. If your child likes sports, have them check out fiction books by Mike Lupica and nonfiction books like sports star biographies. When your teen is finding out more about something they enjoy, reading becomes fun. If you try to push something on them to read that they are not interested in, they are not going to want to read it. Start with their interests and see what books are available.
Read Along With Your Teen
Encourage your teen to read by reading along with them. Give your teen a list of books to choose from and let them pick. They will be more invested. It is fun to read at the same time so you can talk about the book as you go. (Hint: Don’t feel that you have to buy two copies of the book. Check out your local library to see if they have or can order the book that you need.) Alternatively, you can have your teen read the book first and then you can read it.
Read a Book and Watch the Movie
Many movies are based on books. If there is a new movie your teen wants to see this summer, have them read the book first to have permission to see the movie. You can combine this with reading along with your teen. Make it a date! Read it and then watch it together. Or, if there is a movie your teen enjoys that is based on a book they have not read, have them read the book and compare the two.
Read for Incentives
Everyone likes to be rewarded, including teens. Up the ante and give them incentives to read. I’ve created a free summer reading log to print out and keep track. If that’s not your thing, you can use online trackers or apps for your phone or tablet to keep track of their reading. You can choose to track time spent reading, pages read, or books read. Be sure to choose the method that is appropriate for your teen’s reading level. You do not want to make reading feel like a burden. Decide on a reward and the requirements to receive the reward. Incentives don’t have to be big! The prize can be something as simple as a new bookmark, candy or snacks, or a trip to the bookstore for their next read.
Read at the Library
Most libraries have summer reading programs and events throughout the summer. These summer programs are an excellent way to get your teen reading. Libraries are a great place to get recommendations if your teen isn’t sure what to read. Your teen will have the opportunity to browse a wide selection of books, as well as seeing what their peers are reading. Libraries will often have incentive programs as well as fun activities. Be sure to check with your local library to find out about all of the fantastic reading related programming available during the summer and year-round.
Read and They Will Read
Set a good example. If you want your teen to read, let them see you reading the newspaper, an online article, a magazine, or a book that interests you. Ask your teen to read a story in the newspaper or an article you read and ask for their opinion. Have them read something to you while you are driving in the car. Check out an audiobook from the library and listen to it together. Your commute will be more fun, too.
Schedule Reading Time
While it is awesome just to pick up a book and read whenever they want, your teen might need a bit of encouragement to get into the habit of reading. If you block off time in their schedule for reading, it will quickly become a part of their daily routine. Encourage your teen to read first thing in the morning before the day gets too busy or at night before bed. You can also use that time to read alongside your teen. Start small and schedule a fifteen-minute block of reading. Your teen may end up reading longer if they are engaged in what they are reading or reading outside of the scheduled time. Even a small amount of reading each day is beneficial.
Remember: All Reading is Good Reading
This is so important to remember. Whether your teen is reading a graphic novel, a magazine, a paperback, an ebook, or an audiobook, it is something to be celebrated. Do not discourage them from choosing to read fiction over nonfiction or selecting a book for younger readers. You want to encourage your teen and focus on the positive outcomes that reading can bring. Reading comprehension is an incredibly important life skill, and reading throughout the summer enhances that ability.