How To Help Your Teen Become An Avid Reader


Reading often appears last on a teenager’s long list of extracurricular activities. To some, it may even feel like a chore or punishment. But, we know that reading is a vital skill – especially during a global pandemic when there isn’t much else to do. Books are also a wonderful source of escape and can help your teen navigate their feelings about being isolated. So, to help you and your reluctant-to-read teen, we have come up with a few handy tips and tricks to make reading fun again. Plus, we have added a list of the most hotly anticipated novels expected out in 2020. 

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I have never quite understood people who dislike reading. If I could, I would spend an entire year on an island devouring all the books I have stacked in my ‘must-read-before-I-die‘ pile. Nevertheless, I do understand that to some, this would be a complete nightmare. Especially teens with far too much free time and access to the internet.

Full disclosure – I am not a parent. But, I have had numerous discussions with my teenage family members about their reluctance to read in their free time. I have spoken to their tired-out parents too, about the struggle to get their kids to ‘pick up a book for a change‘. While I may be no expert on the matter, I do have a few tips and tricks to share when it comes to getting young people to read more.

Start Them Out Young 

Parents know the importance of reading to their children, yet many seldom do it. Even those who do, sometimes lack dedication to the cause. Similarly, if you aren’t a reader yourself, teaching your child to love literature is likely to be a struggle. Embrace the challenge of turning yourself into a book worm by reading to your child every day. Eventually you will grow so tired of reading the same book over and over again (don’t kid yourself, every child has that one favourite book), that you will look for something more suited to your own taste.

Even as your child learns to read for themselves, continue to talk to them about what they are reading. Take them on frequent trips to the library when lockdown is over (this is a building that houses books; just in case you had forgotten) or nearby bookstores. Pick out a series to read through with them, whether it be a classic or something more contemporary. You could also reach out to friends for book swaps or reading get-togethers. The aim here is to instill a love of reading in your child when young to ensure a lifelong love of books.

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When You’ve Left It Too Late

There is no judgement here, we promise. But, even if you haven’t invested time in your child’s reading habits before their teen years, it’s never too late. The key to triggering the reading bug in your teen is to find out their interests (easier said than done, we know). Understanding your child’s fascinations is the gateway into picking their potential favourite reads. You can learn a lot from the types of films, music and school subjects they enjoy. Many parents make the crossover from film into novels by investing in book series that have been turned into blockbuster hits. Make it a challenge to read the book before watching the movie. Or, encourage your teen to go back and read the book versions of their favourite movies.

Adolescent boys are particularly known for being reluctant readers of fiction. A great way to get your teen reading up a storm is to turn to technology for help. Audible.com has made a selection of its audio books for kids and teens free to listen to until schools reopen. Alternatively, check out the Gauteng Virtual Library for a great selection of eBooks that you can loan for up to two weeks, completely free!

Young Adult Novels To Look Out For In 2020

Romance

Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson

Jacqueline Wilson is a beloved children’s and young adult author. In August 2020, her most highly-anticipated novel is due for release. Love Frankie is about falling in love for the first time, coming out and standing up against your bullies. Frankie is growing up all too fast, no thanks to her school bully, Sally, and her gang of followers. But when Frankie and Sally develop an unlikely friendship, things begin to change in more ways than one. Might Frankie be falling in love? And, does Sally feel the same way?

Love Frankie is right at the top of our must-read YA novels for 2020. Encourage your teen to get stuck in between their homework and other chores. The book is 432 pages long, but it is wonderfully illustrated by Nick Sharrat, so even the most stubborn readers should find something to enjoy.

Fantasy

The Conference of Birds by Ransom Riggs

If your teen loves a good spooky read, get them a copy of The Conference of Birds by Ransom Riggs. The fifth installment of the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series is just as spine-chilling as its predecessors. You may consider gifting your teen with the entire series to get them started on their reading journey. The box set is available from Exclusive Books for *R624.00.

From The Movies

A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games series may be a bit past your teen’s time, but if they enjoyed the films then this new prequel installment will delight their inner bookworm. A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes takes place 64 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteers for the gruesome Hunger Games. Taking an interesting turn, the book focuses on future President Snow’s rise to success and the origins of the Hunger Games tournament.

A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes has already sold 500,000 copies in the US alone. Get your teen a copy online from Loot.co.za or risk them suffering serious FOMO. 

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Happy reading, kids!

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