By: Adrienne May, Parenting Blogger
Teenagers are constantly bombarded with new ways to make poor use of their time.
Social media, and video games are endangering their time with books--or eliminating it altogether.
Some kids love reading, but if you have one who fights it, there are strategies to make reading enjoyable.
The Path of Least Resistance
Enjoy the path of least resistance!
Parents often label “good” and “bad” reading material. Many things we consider junk (comic books, romance novels, etc.) have literary value. Stop touting the classics; accept possibilities your kids might actually enjoy.
Start with what they’re interested in.
If they like video games, look for a comic series based on a game. Graphic novels, formatted like comics, have text that reads like a novel. These are lifesavers for students who don’t retain information easily through text; they can improve reading skills while minimizing frustration.
Libraries and teachers are great resources. Your child may not admit to liking certain books, but his teacher may suggest one book he hated less than others. Start with this suggestion; search Barnes & Noble and Amazon for similar reading material.
Follow Their Lead
Even the most adamant non-readers still read. Pay attention to words your kids are perusing at leisure, and think about reading material you’ve seen in their hands in the past. Some kids won’t read “real” books, but they read video game guides, Internet comics, or instruction manuals. Most children have at least one skill they want to perfect.
Get your child a book that focuses on a project he’s interested in – he will gobble up the knowledge.
Tell your child he can read any book he’d like. This can create ownership over the process, instead of feeling like it’s forced upon him. If you have a stubborn child who insists he doesn’t want any book, let him pick a book for a sibling or a friend’s child. He’ll select a book he thinks is “good” – and you will have a starting point.
Teaching the Value of Reading
We know there are many things our kids should care about, like going to bed at a decent hour and eating well. However, we also know that telling them to care doesn’t work.
I have given up on convincing my children that they should value something for reasons I deem important. College and workplace success rely heavily on reading and retention skills, but teens need to learn that themselves.
To encourage this, I note when my child uses a new word. “Where did you learn that?” This is also where instructional books come in handy. If you get your son a book on model airplanes, point out his new knowledge.
My teenager complains about in-class learning because it’s boring or slow. When she learns from a book, she’s not held back by those issues. I highlight how nice it is to learn independently and educate herself.
Some kids put up a fight over reading, but they can learn to love the written word. It might feel like work as you encourage reading, but later in life, they’ll benefit from having strong skills – and they’ll have you to thank! (Whether or not you ever hear the words “thank you” is an entirely different story.)
More from GalTime.com:
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- 10 Things You May Be Embarrassed to Tell Your Teen
- Parenting A Teen Shopaholic-How to Break the Cycle
- 'Helicopter Parenting:' Tips on Letting Go
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Adrienne May is a military spouse. Her husband is an Army soldier and is now serving in the Army National Guard. Together, they have three children, from preschool to pre-teen. Adrienne regularly blogs for Military Spouse Central and Military Family Central Follow Adrienne on Google+.