Motivating Teen Readers
About This Tip
Why Use This Tip
With so many other distractions available, it's all too easy for teens to turn on the television or log on to a social networking site-rather than pick up something good to read. This is especially true if they think of reading as a school-related chore, rather than an activity done for pleasure. Motivating teens to read can also be complicated by the many other demands on their busy schedules. Luckily, there are many exciting and popular books for teens and plenty of innovative ways to turn teen attention to the written page.
Getting teens to read is a matter of tapping into their interests and making reading rewarding. By using a combination of strategies, you can get teens reading, even voluntarily. The first thing to do is to find reading material that appeals to teens, such as by finding out what other teens are voluntarily reading. It's one thing to get good books in the a teens' hands-and another to get them actually reading. By planning rewarding reading-related activities, teens will feel there's a pay-off in the end-and reading will eventually become its own reward.
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What To Do
- Think of reading as a social activity. You can start visiting book and author-related blogs where teens come together to discuss books. Writers like Laurie Anderson, whose titles are wildly popular with young adult readers, have websites where teens can read and chat about the books they and their peers are reading. Teens can also start their own blogs or social networking accounts on sites like Shelfari, where they share their reading responses with others and build virtual bookshelves of what they have read (and want to read).
- Celebrate the Rights of the Reader. In his book, Rights of the Reader, Daniel Pennac insists on our inalienable rights, such as the right to read anything we want, to reread, to skip pages, to read aloud, and even to not finish a book. Share these empowering rights with your teen. Consider customizing a Reading Record Chart to reflect these rights.
- Read together. Have your teen recommend a book for you, and you can in turn recommend a book for your teen. After you have both read each others' selections, set aside a special time for talking about the books.
- Check out recommended book lists. See How to Help a Teen Choose a Book for links to books recommended by the experts-and by other teens who read. Visit libraries and bookstores, and read published book reviews, to find out the latest books recommended books.
- Watch the movie. Ever hear the expression, "The film was good, but the book was better"? Well, find out! Sometimes a teen will be motivated to read a book because they liked the movie-or because a well-known film is coming out based on a book.
- Make reading an event. Why not read Julie and Julia together, see the movie, and whip up a dish from Julia Child's The Art of French Cooking? Or stand in line at the bookstore with other eager fans when the newest Harry Potter or Twilight book is released?
- Organize a book club. Organize a teen book club based on a particular theme, such as sports or love. Or help your teen organize a novel and film club where teens discuss the books and watch the film adaptations. Host a theme party associated with the book, or ask your library to start a book club for teens.
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