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How to Spark the Love of Reading in Teens

girl reading

Do you remember when your little one used to curl up with a book for hours? Or how their face lighted up when you read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to them (for the nth time). I know you miss those moments. Now that they’ve grown up, they spend most of their time on their phones. Is this a lost cause, or can we encourage teens to love reading again?

The good news is that you can still bring out the bookworm in your child. This article reveals how they can enjoy reading without forcing it on them. These tips can help restore their love for a hobby once close to their hearts.

Is Screen Time Taking Over Teens’ Lives?

girl using phone

Do you know that, on average, an American teen spends 7.5 hours on their mobile devices daily? The time spent glued to their screens is alarming. It’s way more than the recommended amount of two hours per day.

Undoubtedly, devices such as phones and tablets can teach teens about technology. However, spending a third of their day scrolling through social media or watching videos can do more harm than good.

Studies show that too much screen time can lead to low sleep quality, poor self and body image, and mood issues. It can adversely affect a child’s academic performance. Phone addiction can also strain relationships with family and friends.

A Child Reading Books is Happier and Healthier

Most of the time, smartphones reign supreme in our teenager’s lives. Consequently, reading takes a backseat. Yet, as parents, we can unlock a treasure trove of benefits by encouraging our kids to pick up a book.
Reading can shape and mold our adolescents into thriving, empathetic, and resilient adults. They can also reap the rewards of the following advantages:

  • Mental Stimulation

Reading is like a mental workout for your teen’s brain. It stimulates their imagination, sharpens their critical thinking, and expands their vocabulary. It’s an exercise they need to stay sharp.

girl reading in the park
  • Improved Empathy

Books are windows into different worlds and perspectives. Teens can dive into characters’ lives from various backgrounds. Because of this, they can develop empathy and a deeper understanding of the human experience.

  • Reduced Stress

The immersive power of a good book can transport teens to another realm. It can offer them a respite from school and societal pressures. Going on a literary journey reduces stress and promotes mental well-being.

  • Enhanced Communication Skills

Reading promotes language development and enhances communication skills. Teens who read regularly tend to express themselves more eloquently in writing and speaking.

  • Boosted Academic Performance

The benefits of reading extend beyond the pages. Teens who read often tend to perform better academically. This is due to their broader knowledge base and better comprehension skills.

  • Increased Creativity

Reading sparks creativity by exposing teens to different storytelling styles, genres, and artistic expression. It encourages them to think outside the box and fosters creative problem-solving.

  • Cultivating a Lifelong Hobby

Encouraging teens to love reading now sets the stage for a lifelong love of books. It can become a hobby that offers endless joy and personal growth.

  • Parent-Teen Bonding

Love for literature can be a shared experience. Reading the same book as your teen gives you common ground for discussions and strengthens your bond.

mother and daughter laughing
  • Building Resilience

Stories often depict characters overcoming adversity. Teens can draw inspiration from these tales, learning to face their challenges with determination and resilience.

  • Preparation for the Future

In a world driven by information, strong reading skills are essential. Teens who read regularly are better prepared for higher education and future career success.

How to Spark the Love of Reading in Your Teens at Home

Encouraging your teenager to embrace the world of books doesn’t have to feel like a Herculean task. In fact, it can be a joyful journey of discovery for both you and your teen. Here are gentle and effective ways to nurture a love for reading without resorting to coercion or pressure.

Create a Reading-Friendly Environment

Make your home a haven of books. Have shelves filled with a variety of reading materials accessible to your teen. Include various genres – fantasies, biographies, or graphic novels would be best. A well-stocked bookshelf can pique their curiosity.

Create a Cozy Reading Nook

Design a comfortable reading space in your home. It could be a corner with a comfy chair, soft lighting, and blankets. Adding their favorite things- artwork, photos, or even their childhood teddy bear- would make it more personal. A cozy spot can make the hobby more inviting.

girl reading

Be a Reading Role Model

Let your teen see you, put down your phone, and read. Be it a novel, a magazine, or even a newspaper. Showing them that reading is an enjoyable adult activity can speak volumes. You’ll also be surprised at how much it can change your life.

Read Aloud Together

Surprisingly, a child is never too old for a read-aloud. You can share the joy of storytelling by reading your favorite book together. Bonding over Shakespeare or Emily Dickinson could be a memorable experience for both of you. Take turns or let them recite a chapter aloud.

Incorporate Books into Daily Life

Discuss interesting articles or news stories from magazines or the internet at dinner. It doesn’t have to be about serious stuff. Try to bring up topics that resonate with them. For instance, talk about something you read about their favorite band, restaurant, or travel destination. Show that reading is relevant in daily life.

Gift Books Thoughtfully

Give books as presents on special occasions, tailoring your choices to your teen’s preferences. It’s a thoughtful gesture that your child would surely appreciate. You could even assemble a themed gift basket. Pack the book with a nice mug, chocolates, scented candles, and a plush blanket.

gifts wrapped in brown paper

Celebrate Reading Achievements

Acknowledge and celebrate your child’s reading milestones. Whether it’s finishing a challenging book or reaching a certain number of pages, praise their efforts. The rewards do not have to be fancy. A cup of their favorite latte or a cute shirt would be great ideas.

Encourage Peer Recommendations

Encourage your teen to ask friends for book recommendations. Sometimes, a peer’s suggestion can be more appealing than a parent’s. Invite them for a “book exchange” party where they bring their favorite reads to share.

More Ways to Teach Your Teens to Love Reading

Setting up the home and daily routines are crucial steps that can support reading. We’ve added more tips to help you boost your child’s interest in books.

Let them Join Book Clubs or Reading Groups

Encourage your teen to join a book club or reading group. Public libraries usually organize these groups. Your child may even start one! Discussing books with peers can be fun and intellectually stimulating.

Respect Their Choices

boy reading a comic book in bed

Allow your teen to choose what they want to read. Give them the freedom to enjoy a book even if it’s not your preferred genre. Just make sure the books are age-appropriate. Respecting their choices shows that you value their independence and individuality.

Set Realistic Expectations

Avoid imposing strict reading goals or deadlines. Let your teen read at their own pace. Pressuring them can turn the hobby into a chore. A gentle and positive approach will make them love reading.

Visit the Library Together

girl reading in the library

Plan regular trips to the local library as a family outing. Allow your teen to explore and choose books that genuinely interest them. Let her apply for a library card to borrow books to read at home. Libraries often host events that can further ignite their reading passion.

Go on Bookstore Adventures

Go on a bookstore date with your teen at least once a month. Set aside time for them to browse and pick a book they fancy. It would also be nice to give them a budget specifically for this trip. The excitement of owning a new book can be a powerful motivator.

Connect Reading to Interests

Find books related to your teen’s hobbies or interests. It can be about their favorite sports, music, or places. Science fans could find joy in the sci-fi genre. Remember that a well-chosen book can kindle their passion.

Book-to-Movie Nights

After reading a book together, have a movie night to watch the adaptation. It can spark discussions about how books often offer richer experiences. You could also do the reverse and see the film first. It could make them more excited about knowing more details about the story.

Here’s a handpicked list of compelling books recommended for the curious minds of teens. They span various genres and themes, offering entertainment and opportunities for personal growth and discussion.

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

the marrow thieves book

If your teen is into dystopian themes, this book is for them. It narrates the adventures of an indigenous young woman who flees her home and joins a group of people fighting tyranny. It explores identity, loss, and resilience.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See Book

Your teen will learn about history in this Pulitzer Prize-winning book. It reveals the story of a blind French girl and a German orphan who collide during World War II. It is a beautifully written and unforgettable story about the power of human connection.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

the book thief book

A young booklover’s heart could draw inspiration from this bestselling novel. It is about a young girl sent to live with foster parents in Nazi Germany. Endearing yet sometimes heartbreaking, it amplifies the power of literature and how it can give hope during dark times.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

the giver book

This book brings young readers into a world without pain, color, or choice. However, when a young man becomes the Receiver of Memory, he learns the dark secrets his community is hiding. It is a tale that would elicit introspective thoughts on birth, death, love, and loss.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

wonder book

It would be refreshing for your teen to read about kindness, acceptance, and the importance of seeing people for who they are on the inside. In this book, they’ll meet Auggie. He is a young boy with an unusual facial deformity and attends mainstream school after being homeschooled for the first time.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

the fault in the stars book

Many teens would enjoy reading about romance. This novel brings them to Hazel and Gus’ love story amidst their struggles with terminal disease. It’s funny, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, showcasing the power of the human spirit.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Young adult readers would appreciate a tale about friendship, loyalty, and the value of finding your place in the world. In this coming-of-age novel, the author reveals the conflicts of the Greasers and the Socs, two rival gangs.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Midnight Library book on a shelfYour child would be delighted with this heartwarming and thought-provoking novel. It shares the story of a young woman given the chance to live different versions of her life. They’ll learn about regret, second chances, and how to live one’s life to the fullest.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

the house in the cerulean sea

A teen who loves fantastical tales as a child may find this book interesting. It’s a whimsical and heartwarming story about a social worker sent to investigate an orphanage for magical children.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

the song of Achilles book

A captivating prose, this novel tells the story of Achilles and Patroclus, two warriors who fall in love during the Trojan War. This unique love story will keep your teens busy for hours.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Surely, a story about empowerment would get your approval. This novel tells the story of Circe, a Greek goddess often misunderstood and feared. Your teen will dive into self-discovery and hopefully get inspired to find her own voice.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Young fans of crime and mystery stories will love this novel. It’s a thrilling historical fantasy about a young treasure hunter hired to investigate a series of baffling murders. Let our teens go on an adventure as they pore into the pages.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

the priory of the orang tree

Are your teens into dragons, kingdoms, and epic adventures? Then this book deserves a space on your shelves. It’s girl power through and through. Three young women destined to save the world fight off a larger-than-life enemy.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

the hunger games book

This book might be “old” by a teenager’s standard. However, it’s still worth a try. It’s a classic dystopian thriller about a young woman who volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in a deadly competition. It is an exciting and suspenseful read. Your child will thank you later for recommending this, for sure.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

the lord of the rings book

If you loved this classic as a child, you can share your joy with your teen. It’s an epic lore about fighting evil and celebrating friendship. 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Can science fiction and comedy go together? This novel proves it can. Your teen would enjoy this hilarious and thought-provoking story. It is a fun and wild ride that will keep them entertained from beginning to end.

Inspire Your Teens to Enjoy Reading

girl reading

Encouraging young adults to love reading is a gift that will keep giving. It molds their minds, nurtures their hearts, and equips them with essential life skills. However, competing with a phone’s influence can be tricky in today’s connected world.

Fortunately, many ways can spark an adolescent’s interest in books. With our love, time, and support, we can help them unlock a world of possibilities that reading offers. It’s an investment in their future, and the dividends are immeasurable.

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