My Teen Doesn’t Like to Read Anymore. Help!
99% of humans parenting Teens
Remember when you could pick up a book from the library, any book, and your child would sit on your lap and listen? Favorite books were read over and over. Your family visited the library often, hauling home tote bags full of wonder on a page and you had complete confidence your child would grow into one of those lifelong readers. You would never find yourself exasperated, telling them to put down their phones and stop taking Buzzfeed quizzes to figure out what kind of taco they are. You would never have to emphatically tell them to pick up a book! Until you find yourself telling them just that, over and over, all summer long.
My kids were those lap-reading, book-loving kids and now they are teenagers. And I work at a library. And I’m a YA librarian. And getting them to read (voluntarily) is a struggle. It’s difficult to compete with all of the distractions this digital life has to offer Teens, but there are ways to get Teens reading again that don’t involve bribery or smashing your internet router with a hammer.
Meet them in the YA section. Young Adult novels handle issues many teens struggle with, like peer pressure, relationships, grief, struggles with authority figures, and stresses of school. If your teen is struggling with specific topics or just loves to decompress by visiting a great fantasy/sci-fi world, the YA section is the place to look.
Hello Hollywood! YA literature is being turned into movies and TV series now more than ever. Suggest your teen read the book before watching the screen adaptation. This way, they can say the book was better than the Netflix version and actually be able to back that argument up with evidence.
Reading Graphic Novels IS Reading! It counts! There is a plot, character development, and amazing artwork all propelling the story. There is also more anime (Japanese film and television animation) available to watch these days, so reading the manga (Japanese graphic novels) and then watching the anime afterward is easier than ever.
Reading…is Reading! As parents, we get so caught up in reading levels and AR Points sometimes the fact your Teen is reading a blog about video games or a baking magazine doesn’t seem to count. It does! My son is 15 and revisits the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series from time to time because it is funny! It’s enjoyable and nostalgic for him. Isn’t it way under his comprehension level? Yes, and I’m not worried. It still counts as reading for me. I’m not going to force him to read Silas Marner if I am trying to encourage a lifelong reading practice. There will be plenty of time for that in school…
Listen Up! Audiobooks are awesome and you can download them for free from the library onto your phone or tablet using the Libby app. There are plenty of YA options and Teens can listen while drawing, doing their chores, driving in the car, or sitting in their bedrooms you have to beg them to come out of.
Books Books Everywhere! I like to think my love of reading began with copies of Reader’s Digests magically left in our bathrooms when I was growing up. My parents had reading material all over our house: books, magazines, cookbooks. I remember hiding in my room and reading my mom’s book club books (mostly juicy and kid inappropriate Danielle Steel novels). I follow this tactic in my house and especially in the car. Our car looks like a little free library on wheels, stacks of manga and graphic novels, old issues of Game Informer magazine, a Rolling Stone or two for my daughter who likes music, and vintage Choose Your Own Adventure paperbacks. The only positive aspect of being stuck in traffic on I-35 is the boring scenery that makes reading so appealing for my teens.
What are some of the tactics you use to get your teens reading?