If your teenager is struggling with reading, getting them to sit down and actually practice can be tough. However, it doesn’t need to be a battle. Use these strategies to encourage them to read more.
Keep Things Real
Make clear connections between your child’s ability to read and their future options in life. If they want to do better at school, go to college, or have a successful career, have an open discussion about the way that reading might be needed for that. Find some role models who may have struggled with conditions like dyslexia, but still succeeded. Discuss, don’t lecture.
Let Your Teen Choose
The best way to encourage your teen to read is to let them read whatever they find engaging and interesting, whether that’s comic books, romance novels, or crime novels. They might want to work on phonics for teens, or they might want to read non-fiction books about space. The books they’re drawn to might not suit your taste, but don’t discourage or censor them.
Look For Books At Their Reading Level
If your teen is struggling with reading at high school, it can be hard to find interesting books at their reading level. Look for books that are aimed specifically at reluctant teenage readers. It could also be a good idea to let them use assistive technology that will make reading a little easier, such as audiobooks. Getting in some reading practice with a more accessible text is much better than completely giving up on traditional books that are aimed at more advanced readers.
One of the best and easiest ways to create a culture of reading in your home is to read as much as possible yourself. The more that your children see your reading from a young age, the more they are likely to do the same. This won’t change when your child enters high school. Teenagers are very resistant to any message that implies ‘do as I say, not as I do’. If you don’t read, you can’t expect them to.
Discuss What They Read
Talk about what your child is reading. Ask them questions about their reading choices and encourage debate and discussion. Create an environment where they can think critically about their reading choices. Talking about what they are reading can help in a few different ways. For example, if your teen has dyslexia or ADHD, they might like talking about a story more than actually reading it. Help them to stay motivated by asking them to read you a few short passages they’ve particularly enjoyed and then discuss them.
Resist The Urge To Criticize
If your teen is a reluctant reader, don’t shut them down about reading. Keep any negative options about what they read to yourself. If you think the romance novels they read are silly, don’t say that to them. If you think eBooks are worse than paperbacks, don’t say so if they like reading eBooks. Encourage their reading, whatever form that might take.