When was the last time you saw your teen fall into a good book? A recent study published by the American Psychological Association revealed a sad literary fact: 1 in 3 U.S. high school seniors did not read a book for pleasure in 2016. Yet in the same time period, 82 percent of 12th-graders visited sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram every day. Perhaps even more startling over time: In the 1970s, about 60 percent of high school seniors reported reading a book, magazine or newspaper every single day. Four decades later, in 2016, only 16 percent of high school seniors reported doing so.
With technology not going anywhere anytime soon, how can parents encourage their teens to step away for a moment from the screens and pick up a good book once again? Here are six ways to encourage your teen to rediscover reading.
Read aloud, together…it’s not just for toddlers
If your teen has younger siblings, encourage him or her to read an old favorite to a little one. Why not rediscover the Harry Potter or a Newberry-award winning fave picturebook by reading it aloud to a pair of new ears? Or set off on a family reading adventure and read a chapter of an engaging book every evening together, as a family. Suspense and mystery books tend to work well with teens, and you can work as a team to solve or predict. Pair your family reading night with a special snack to entice your teen to join in on the literary fun.
Set up an in-home reading nook
Every home needs a good reading nook, a place where comfy seating encourages getting lost in a good book and where engaging reading materials are within easy reach. If you don’t have an in-home reading nook, work with your teen to create one. Choose some fun, funky furnishings—think Papasan chairs, good lighting and an easy-to-access bookshelf stocked with old favorites and undiscovered reads.
Subscribe to a magazine that fits your teen’s interests
Teens don’t need to be reading War and Peace to hone their reading skills—any engaging print materials will do. Thankfully, there’s a print magazine for every interest under the sun, from Fortnite to Faeries.
Give the gift of reading
Make a point of gifting the teen in your life a special book for every birthday. Magazine subscriptions make great gifts, too! Gift certificates to a local book or comic book store are always appreciated as well.
Be a reading role model
Let’s be honest: Mom, Dad, when was the last time YOU read an engaging novel? Let your child see you getting lost in a great read, whether it’s the newspaper, a magazine, or the latest bestseller.
Set up a family reading challenge
Encourage everyone in the family to keep an accurate count of minutes spent reading per week. At the end of the week, the top reader gets to choose a special treat: perhaps a coffee shop stop before school, a promised pizza delivery, or best of all, a visit to a local bookstore to pick out yet another good book.