My 13 year old goes through cycles. Sometimes he barely reads at all, and sometimes he can't put a book down. Since he started middle school, so many things are now competing for his time and attention. And let's face it, books aren't exactly what boys talk about at the lunch table.
Well, I've learned to go with the flow and not force books on him. I prefer to let the books do the talking. Instead of nagging him, or making him read a certain amount each night, I spend time at the library seeking out books I think might interest him. I'll come home with about 5 of them and place them in a spot where I know they'll eventually catch his eye. Sometimes, I have to remind him to just take a look at them so I know which ones to keep and which ones to return. That's ok, especially at this age of hormonal rage.
Most of the time, there will be at least one that sparks interest. Sometimes, it's just the cover, but usually the inside of the book jacket or the very first page or chapter will prompt him to make a quick decision about whether to try the book or not.
That's why covers, descriptions, and first pages of books matter SO much for tween and teen readers. They have so much competing for their attention these days that reading just isn't on the top of the list anymore (well, if it ever was). BUT, many tweens and teens realize that book characters can actually become friends that guide them through awkward social situations in a nonjudgmental way.
Book characters admit weaknesses that real friends usually don't.
At a time when many parents stop encouraging their children to read, the teen years are probably the age when we all need to be surrounded by book characters the most. They can provide new perspectives, ways of handling all kinds of situations, and add a dose of humor even in the darkest situation.
Books can take you anywhere you need to go, in a way that real life sometimes can't. They can help you get "unstuck." And who doesn't get stuck sometimes?
Do you remember your teen years?
My son and I read together a lot less often than we used to, but I will probably always be connecting him with books I think he will enjoy. For me, they're essential and eye-opening communication tools, whether we read them together or not.
An added plus is that books-in-print take him away from technology and allow him to focus on thing at a time. In the age of multitasking, what a gift that truly is.
So, I have not read these books myself, but each of them pulled GreenGuy right in from page one. He became lost in them and couldn't put them down. To me, that's a vacation without the travel time!
I hope your son (or daughter) enjoys them as much as mine did.
Sports-related, for (mature) middle and high schoolers:
For tech savvy teens:
Dystopian adventure so thrilling that my son read in one day and can't wait for the sequel:
Through the eyes of a bully:
Humor and adventure for 10 to 14 year olds, and anyone who enjoyed The Big Splash:
There are so many ways to inspire a love of reading in a child. I choose to do so through a wide variety of books in print, but some teens prefer to use eReaders, blogs, and social networking to seek out great books. It's a wonderful thing when they seek out books on their own and even chat about them with friends, but I suspect more girls than boys do so. What's been your experience?
If you or your child have any feedback about any of these books, or if there are other books s/he couldn't put down, please let us know!
Here are some related posts you may have missed:
- Top 10 Ways to Raise an Avid Reader
- Two Captivating Chapter Books for Tweens
- Developing Empathy Through Chapter Books
- Boys Lost in Books
- More Fun Sports-Related Books for Young Teen Boys
- More Posts From My Kids to Yours
- How to Guide Reluctant Readers
- When Children Think They Don't Like to Read (series)
- Favorite Family Read Alouds
- The One Book We All Should Read
- Read-Alouds in Middle School