Why and How You Should Read With Your Teen

Why and How You Should Read With Your Teen

Have you ever seen the movie The Princess Bride? The book starts with a grandfather reading a book aloud to his grandson. The grandson is less than excited in the beginning, but gets more and more into the book as the plot progresses. By the end, this kid is totally hooked and can’t wait to spend more time with his grandfather.

That part of the movie always made my little bookworm heart happy! Look at this moody tween falling in love with books and spending time with Grandpa! Some of my favorite memories are reading with my mom and discussing books we’d both read.

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If your tween or teen just isn’t that into reading, let The Princess Bride be a lesson. Kids can get interested in reading, even with their parents. I’m not saying that you need to read a book out loud to your teen (although that doesn’t hurt), but just creating a book club for you two can light a fire in your child. And you can deepen your relationship at the same time!  That’s a win-win for everyone!

There are SO many benefits of reading for teens. Not only are they improving their vocabulary and writing skills, they can also gain empathy for others and be better able to discuss their own emotions. And kids who read for pleasure tend to do better in school, too! Those benefits extend to adults as well.

Before you dive in and read with your teen, I have some tips to make this little book club project successful!

Why and How You Should Read With Your Teen

read with teen

Pick the book together

The fastest way to kill this project is to pick out the book yourself. Brainstorm possible topics of interest with your teen and then research from there. The more say you give your teen = more buy-in from him or her. (Psst – I have some suggestions here, here, and here.)

If you’re dreading reading Young Adult (YA) novels, DON’T! They are not just vampire romances. In fact, YA characters are way more diverse than the ones in adult novels and the issues (vampires aside) are incredibly relevant to teens today. I read a lot of YA novels and love them.

Before you select a book, I would do some quick research on the book’s reading level. This is especially important if your child reads well below or well above their grade level. If your child struggles to read, you want to pick a book they can read successfully, not something that will just frustrate them. For some kids, they are more successful listening to the audio version, rather than actual reading.

Create a reading plan

Look at both your schedules and the length of the book. Based on those, create a realistic reading schedule you both can follow. Write the “reading assignments” in your planners and place the schedule somewhere you will both see it.

How are you going to read the book? Will you use a physical book, e-book, or listen to the audio version? Will you each read on your own or read together out loud? Reading is reading, so whatever works for your family is good!

Model, model, model

reading with teen
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

You need to model to your child the behavior you want to see. If the TV is on and you’re watching mindlessly (hello HGTV!), turn it off and open that book! Take your book with you to practices, appointments, and other commitments and whip it out when appropriate. Your kiddo is more likely to read if they see you reading.

Set Aside “Book Club” time

In your schedules, designate a time for you and your teen to talk about the book, at least once a week. I would also check in a little bit every day to make sure that your child is still reading. Go with open-ended questions that will get him talking.

During book club time, you can have more in-depth conversations about the characters, book, author’s style, etc. There are a ton of book club question on the internet. A quick search should help you out.

Book Club doesn’t have to take that long – maybe 30 minutes. Make it fun and add some snacks to the mix or take book club on the road! Head to a coffee shop or take a walk outside and talk about the book.

Hopefully, these tips and suggestions will help you read with your teen. Have fun reading and building your relationship!

What book did you and your teen pick to read together? Let me know in the comments below!

Related Posts: How to Get Reluctant Readers to Actually Read, What Not to Say to When Your Child Is Failing, How to Help Your Teen Own Their Education, Why You Need to Volunteer at your Teen’s School

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