Helping your tween/ teen love ‘Reading’…

reading habits of teens and pre-schoolers- Parenting resources by ZenParent

Middle school years – Keeping the flame alive

So you’ve done everything right so far and your elementary schooler enjoys being around books. And yet, it’s often been observed that by middle school, most kids stop reading books that aren’t assigned in school. Why does that happen? Reading is hard work, and at that age, life offers preteens and teens so many other ways to entertain themselves that reading often seems more like work than play. So how do you avoid that pitfall? How can we, as parents, make sure that our kids get to that miraculous place where reading a book is more fun than almost anything else?

1. Do not impose! Forcing your child to read a book of your choice is probably the worst step. The more you force, the more children will rebel, especially at that age. Only recommend books but do not push your preteen towards it.

2. Are you reading? Parents can be the right influences by just reading in front of the children. Decide on a reading time for the family and ensure that everybody lives up to the tradition. It does not matter if your child refuses to read during the specified time. Parents need to still go ahead and set an example. Eventually the kids will follow.

reading habit of a mid-schooler- Parenting resources by ZenParent

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3. Let them follow their interests– Every child might not enjoy reading Harry Potter or fantasy for that matter, much the same way as a lot of adults would not touch autobiographies with a pole. Do not enforce your choices on your child. Let them read what they are interested in. It did break my heart when my daughter refused to read Enid Blyton (the staple for my generation while we were growing up) but I have learnt to respect her choice!

4. Know and respect their level – It is important to know the reading level of the child when you recommend or gift a book. Any book below his or her interest area will seem too baby-ish and anything above the child’s reading level will intimidate them.

Teenage- vivifying the ‘reading habit’ differently

Continuing the habit of reading – widely – into teenage years helps teens to deal with their increasingly complex world, and understand some of the adult issues they will have to grapple with. Other than, of course, helping them develop their vocabulary and writing, broaden their imaginations and gain confidence when speaking. Even though the influence of parents on reading becomes heavily diluted during these years, they can still help their kids develop/keep the habit in some ways.

1. Read some of “their” books

The line between the ‘young adult’ books and ‘adult’ books is blurry and books for teenagers often contain topics like romance, violence, drug abuse and suicide. These books are usually written to reflect lives of teenagers to help them relate to the books better. It’s always a good idea, once in a while, to read the books your teen reads to get a snapshot of their thought process and understanding and to then be able to speak their language. Why give up the chance to read books that trigger good discussions about values and choices and hardships and hope? My almost fourteen year old reads physics books I can’t fathom, but we both love it when I read some of the books he recommends and we have discussions over them. It’s a wonderful way for us to bond and also gives me an insight into his world and mind.

reading habits of a teenager- Parenting resources by ZenParent

 

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2. Try and Limit technology

For a lot of kids, there’s no way a book can compete with TV or computer. Most kids, given the choice, just won’t choose the book often enough to make it a habit. And before you know it, sitting in front of a screen is how they unwind and relax. Limiting screen usage until reading is well-established may be the most important thing you can do to encourage reading.

Although, these tips will help to a certain extent in influencing your child’s reading habits, it’s always good for parents to speak to fellow parents to find out what has worked for them and learn from their experiences. However, what’s important for the parents to keep in mind is that each child is different and the amount they can read and the kind of books they can read will vary.

There are invaluable online resources which can help you find the right books for your child based on their reading and interest areas.

Click here to learn how to help little kids develop a long-lasting interest in reading…

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