Summer’s the perfect time for your teen to relax and recharge. And the break from the school routine also opens doors for them to learn things they wouldn’t during term time.
Reading is a great way to spark their curiosity and build their love of learning – but getting them to pick up a book can be an uphill battle. If nagging your teen to read more sounds familiar, we’ve got a few ideas on how you can turn things around this summer.
1. Get them reading material around their interests.
You know the score – if a teen feels made to do something, it’s approximately 100 times harder to get them to do it. The key is to make sure the reading level is right and that the material is built around their interests. So if your teen’s into gaming, you can get them gaming magazines. It doesn’t have to be a book either–reading a magazine is still reading! If they love sports or History, you can point them in the direction of trivia books or sports biographies. Graphic novels and anime are popular with teens, too. Just ask them what they’re into.
2. Encourage them to join a summer reading club.
Reading can feel lonely–but it doesn’t have to be that way! In our summer group courses, teens can read ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood or ‘Natives‘ by Akala in book clubs capped at 8 students. In these courses they’ll learn about pressing social issues that they care about, and chat about it all with students their age and a tutor who’s just a few years older. If they’re into the idea of reading a bit more, they could even pick a book with a couple of friends, and discuss it with them in their own book club over the holidays. So they can be social and tick books off a reading list at the same time.
3. Take them to the library or a bookshop.
Sometimes, being surrounded by books and seeing exciting covers can inspire your teen to pick up a book or two. To help encourage your teen to read, you can have an exciting reading list at hand. And if you’re still not sure on where to start, you can ask the librarian or a sales assistant for ideas around your teen’s interests– they’re sure to have a suggestion or two. The great thing about borrowing books from a library is that your teen can try lots of options, and if they’re not into a book they’ve picked, they can move on to the next.
4. Get them books in different formats.
It might be time to re-think what reading looks like. Teens are mostly reading on their phones these days (and you probably are too). They might be put off with carrying a book and would happily read on their phone or tablet instead. If they’ve got a Kindle app, they can download free samples and find out if they’re into the book before they buy it. Even audiobooks might work better for them– especially if they’re dyslexic- and it can still help build up their vocabulary, knowledge and love of stories.
5. Lead by example
If you’re not reading at home, your teen might be wondering why they should do it. We’re not suggesting you crack out the Tolstoy and make a big show of it. But simply reading the paper or a magazine at home and bringing up interesting topics you’ve come across. If there’s a novel or biography that you really love, seeing you get excited about it can get them wondering what the fuss might be about. Then there’s a good chance that way that they’ll see reading as a normal part of life – rather than more cruel homework.
A lot of parents want their teens to read more–and there are good reasons for it. The key thing is to let them lead the way since reading comes down to personal taste. Otherwise, the books might just sit on their bedside table collecting dust, or doubling as a doorstop. But when they’ve found a match, it can open up a whole exciting world to them.
You can find out more about our summer reading clubs on MyTutor Groups.