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Spark Your Tween's Interest in Reading

Try these strategies to keep your busy pre-teen turning the pages.
 

Learning Benefits

Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Decision Making
Reading
Independent Thinking

As children become "tweens" and have more competition for their time, it is a challenge to keep them reading for pleasure. In reading, like everything else, you are still an important role model. Try these activities to get your child reading and be sure to let him see you read.

Join the club. Tweens are very social. Mother-daughter or father-son book clubs are a great way to get kids to read and to talk about books.


Read together. Get your own copy of novels your child is reading for school or even for pleasure. A nice benefit of having a tween is rereading books you read in middle and high school. You also get to try new books and keep up with what she's reading. Reading together also gives you more to talk about.

Read anytime, anywhere. He doesn't have to sit with a book to read for pleasure. Kids this age are interested in activities like cooking, so find interesting cookbooks and recipes, then read and cook together. And of course there's the Internet! Your child can find lots to read (especially material for research) online. Sites for museums and arts institutions are usually good, safe places for kids to visit.

Offer magazines and more. Weekly news magazines, the sports page, and other periodicals provide great content and context for reading for pleasure and information. There are many good magazines written just for kids. Two of my favorites, especially for nature lovers:

  • National Geographic for Kids has the same appeal as the grown-up edition — great pictures and interesting content.
     
  • Ranger Rick continues to be an outstanding source for information about the natural world.

Check these titles out with your child at your local library or bookstore. Most kids think it's very exciting to get a magazine with their name on it in the mail, so if it works with your family's budget, order a subscription.

Keeping up with the news is excellent reading practice too. If your child's school doesn't participate in an in-class newspaper like Scholastic News, you might encourage the practice by talking to the principal and teacher. If he does get such a paper in class, encourage him to bring it home. This is an important time for children and teenagers to know more about their world, and magazines and newspapers help accomplish this — with the added benefit of helping them be better readers. 

Encourage freedom. Teens and tweens like to make their own selections. As feasible, let your child choose her own books from the library and for purchase.

The Reading Toolkit