Created on: January 07, 2013 Last Updated: January 08, 2013
Often parents will declare they don’t understand why they can’t get their teenagers to do certain things such as read regularly, yet they will readily buy them every new electronic gadget that comes on the market, which ensures they read even less. The question becomes, why would the average teen want to read when they can enter a word or a phrase into Google and get a litany of answers? They can download classic movies onto their Smartphones or iPads and in seconds start to watch just about any movie that’s available. They can start up their Xboxes and morph into whatever they choose to be, which may include killers. Why would they want to do something as mundane as reading regularly? There are, however, some things you might want to consider for getting them in the habit of reading.
Train your child to read
If parents have not inculcated a love of reading in their children when they are young, it’s less likely they will be able to do so when they become teenagers. Parents must surround their toddlers with all types of books and continue this practice if they want them as teenagers to have a love for the written word. Today, more than ever, parents must compete for the attention of their teens; therefore, the earlier they start with habits they would like to see last a lifetime, the better.
Teach by example
As parents, you are your teen’s first role model; therefore, it is imperative you read often and selectively. You should make reading enjoyable and interactive. By the time your children become teenagers, they should be required to read a book a month and discuss each of them with you. Allow them to select the book of their choice and set aside a day of each month to discuss it. If you believe it will help your teens, make it a family affair and have everyone discuss the same book.
Too often, parents rely on teachers to ensure their teens are proficient at reading, but think about it. The average teacher has, at a minimum, twenty to twenty-five students, so how will he or she find the time to give your child the individual attention he or she needs? Too many teens are falling through the cracks because teachers don’t have time to instill in them a love of reading, and they shouldn't have to, as this should be a part of the parenting process.
Discuss the importance of reading
If by chance you have teens that do not like to read, it will probably be difficult to change their habits, but you must. Reading is a part of lateral thinking, because when they read varied material from many sources, they will learn to engage all their senses, if only figuratively. They learn how others make decisions, which can help them as they mature. Discuss how reading comprehension will help them do well in college, or whatever profession or vocation they choose. You must provide your teens a reason to want to read.
Parents remember you are competing for your teenager's attention with a plethora of activities; therefore, you must make every effort to make reading attractive and useful. In days of old, teens relied on CliffsNotes for shortcuts, but today, they can type a word or a phrase into Google and get instant answers from numerous sources. They can pretend to be anybody they desire on their Xboxes. With all these distractions, why would the average teen want to read? To combat these forces, you must be energetically pro-active. Ultimately, you can get your teens to read, but you've got to provide them with a reason or a need to want to read regularly.
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