Question: I’m a parent of a 9th grade student who doesn’t like to read. There are thousands of books, but he claims that he can’t find a topic or subject that really interests and motivates him to read in his spare time. Are there any tools (questionnaire, reading assessments, book lists, etc) that could identify suitable books that my teenage son might enjoy and would encourage him to read?

Answer: Although I am an avid reader and writer and have been most of my life, I can remember feeling exactly the same way when I was in 9th grade.  I couldn’t find anything that I wanted to read.

I think the first step for you as a parent–and I sense that you have done this already–is to give your child free reign.  By taking a step back and allowing young readers to choose for themselves, you can convert an obligatory activity into a wide-open opportunity.   Ideally, perusing the library or bookstore should produce an appetite for reading. If it doesn’t, here are a few other ideas.

1) The British web 2.0 tool What Should I Read Next? is fun to play with. It isn’t designed specifically for kids, but most 9th graders read on an adult level. It works like this: enter the name of the last book you enjoyed. The program produces a list of books you might want to read based on the preferences of other readers who enjoyed that book.

2) Some teens prefer social over solitary activities. Although a 9th grader may not interested in a book club, there might be other ways in which reading could become more social. By 9th grade, students are often interested in books that expand what they know of the world, and they can discuss these books in a sophisticated way if you encourage them to share their opinions and listen to what they have to say.

3) This may sound like a cop-out–I don’t mean it as such–but you might have to expand your idea of reading by including magazines, websites, blogs, and graphic novels.

The goal is to help your child develop the love of reading and have faith that the ability to discriminate between trash and treasure will follow.

posted by Robin Reagler, Writers in the Schools

originally published on the Houston Chronicle website

No Responses to “Make Reading Fun for Kids”

  1. Jenna

    Incorporating magazines into your child’s reading routine really can help boost their excitement! My name is Jenna and I work for Cricket Magazine Group. We publish 14 Award-Winning Magazines, all of which are educational for children. You may have heard of Ladybug or Cricket. If you would be willing to write a review with a link to our website on your blog page, I would love to mail you a few free copies to go over. Feel free to look around our website also, http://www.cricketmag.com…Thanks!

    Jenna

    Reply

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