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- author Jackie French

Saturday 24 March 2018

Guest Post: Kaye Newton on People Who Can Get Your Kids Reading

While reading for pleasure has many documented benefits, adolescents who are busy with school, sports, clubs, and vigilantly maintaining Instagram accounts, may not want to read during their free time.

Also, preteens and teens may not appreciate parental book recommendations and suggestions to put down the smartphone and pick up a good novel.

But a third party can encourage adolescents to crack open a book. The following is a list of people besides you who can get your kids reading:

A reading buddy can be a classmate, a neighbourhood kid, a teammate, or a cousin who is your child’s age or slightly older. Your kid has to like spending time with this person. The more your kid admires this person, the better. Take your adolescent and his or her reading buddy to the bookstore or the library to peruse books and magazines. Let them wander through the shelves on their own. Don’t follow them. Don’t make book suggestions. Do consider buying them coffee, ice cream, or a snack right after visiting the books. Do ask which book looked interesting.

If your adolescent balks at the idea of bringing a friend to the bookstore or library, make it a surprise. While driving your adolescent and reading buddy home from a sports practice or other activity, let them know that you need to pick up a book for yourself. Pull into your local bookstore parking lot and point out it’s too cold/hot/boring for them to sit in the car and wait for you. They need to come into the bookstore or library.

A “cool” aunt or uncle or family friend who loves books can encourage your adolescent to read. He or she can share recommendations and pass on books to your kid.

Grandparents want to connect with their grandkids and usually have the time and inclination to read. Ask your parents or in-laws to take your kid to the library and pick out a book, or to drive him or her to a bookstore. They can play an audiobook or podcast, which count as “ear-reading”, in the car if they are taking grandkids to activities.

Babysitters. If you’re traveling and hire a babysitter to stay with your preteens, she can encourage them to read by sharing her favourite books and chatting about what the kids are reading for school.

Teachers. If your teenage son likes his language-arts teacher, he will listen when the teacher talks about his or her best-loved books. Science teachers often have a classroom library of engaging books that your teen can borrow. My son’s wonderful eighth-grade science teacher encourages reading by talking about his book club and sending out daily e-mails with interesting science articles to parents and students. Encourage your kids to ask their teachers for reading recommendations. You can also e-mail his or her teacher for recommendations and the best ways to encourage your kid to read for pleasure.

Drama directors or singing coaches. Acting classes, singing lessons, and participating in school plays require students to read lyrics and scripts. Good actors also read books related to their roles in order to learn about a character’s internal motivations, relationships, and living conditions. If your daughter has a role in the musical Wicked, her drama teacher can encourage her to read the novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz.

Authors. When Rick Riordan, author of the best-selling Percy Jackson series, appeared in Nashville, he was greeted by cheering fans waving giant inflatable pencils. The audience laughed and clapped throughout his hilarious presentation and book promotion; it was a rally for reading.

Volunteer coordinators. Teens may need community-service hours as part of their high-school graduation requirements. They can read books aloud to senior citizens, individuals who are blind, or hospital patients. Teens can tutor elementary-school-age students and read to them or volunteer to read aloud to preschoolers at the local library.

Kaye Newton lives outside Nashville, TN with her husband, three kids, and two lively dogs. She is a bibliophile and author of How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure.

Visit her at: www.kayenewton.com