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How to Encourage a Teen to Read Books

Updated on August 13, 2013

Books and Children

One day when I was a little girl, my mother told me that we are going to see one special place. I can still remember how excited and curious I was. My mom did her best to get me in the right mood and make me feel that we are doing something remarkably.

And then she took me to the local children's library. It was placed in a very beautiful and old building near my elementary school. I remember how grown up and important I felt when I got my membership card. The solemn silence and exquisite architecture of the place made me fall in love with the whole concept of the libraries.

It was so exciting because the library card had a table on it, and that table had many rows. Every time I borrowed a book, librarian would write it down in the next row in my card. That was such a great feeling to see how many rows I managed to fill. I even made a contest with my closest girlfriends. At the end of the year, a winner was the person who had most filled rows in her card.

Also, the library had its own prices for the kids who read the most in the past year, and we were usually in that group.

It felt great to be rewarded for reading books, while I was having great time exchanging book reviews with my friends, competing, spending time in that beautiful library, feeling respected and included in that great community of book lovers.

My mother also encouraged me to write down titles of the books I have read in one cute notebook, so I had feeling of accomplishment every time when I did that.


Books and Teenagers

I'm not sure if I would love to read as much as I do if I hadn't started that early. But, when I become a teenager, everything changed.

Reading books wasn't that cool anymore, and I was too old for my favorite children's library. So, my mother did some other things to encourage me to keep reading. First of all, she told me that there was a great book fair in the big city where my aunt lives! And it was in the same time of the year as my birthday, so, as my birthday gift, mom give me some money to spend on the fair.

I couldn't be any happier. It was such an adventure, going through so many shelves and counters full of books, and trying to determine the best way to spend my money. I felt like a kid in the candy store (and I still do, every year when I go there).

I also started buying books that was series (not just Harry Potter, but being a girl who always has new Harry Potter book first, made me pretty cool in the eyes of other teens I knew). So, I made a tradition to read series of books, and to buy the next one on the next year fair! And that, of course, made me come back there every year.

So, I think that all of those little traditions, encouragements, and positive pressures made me a big book lover I'm today.

So, if you have a teenager or a kid you want to be a little bit more into the books, then my advices are to:

-Make it an event

Go to the library or to the book store. Visit friends that are book lovers and likes to lend them. You can pick books and read it together as a part of some school project, or read about famous writers and the things that inspire them to write the books your kid likes.

-Make a little contest or give some kind of reward

It might not be the best way to enjoy literature, but you can encourage them to make list of books and some kind of deadline for reading it, or something similar. You can also offer some symbolic award for every book they read. It can be really fun, especially if you have more kids to participate in this contest (you can try to include siblings or friends).

-Create rituals

Ask them to write something down about every book they read. Encourage them to expand the joy by landing books to others or giving it to the charity for less lucky children.

-Establish traditions

This can be anything, from renewing the membership fee for the library every January, or visiting some great even such as important book fair close to you.

I wish you all the luck in this task, because I truly believe that loving the books is one of the most important lesson you can teach the young ones.


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    • diplorging profile image

      diplorging 5 years ago from Serbia

      Thank you, that's a great idea!

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      One of the best ways to get a teen to read is to recommend something short and compelling. Here's what I often recommend, as I did to my son who became a life long reader: Read the first chapter of Jaws by Peter Benchley. Just the first chap - and try to put it down.

    • diplorging profile image

      diplorging 5 years ago from Serbia

      I couldn't agree more:)

    • jponiato profile image

      jponiato 5 years ago from Mid-Michigan

      Your mother was one smart cookie. I'll add that reading to young children goes a long way toward inspiring them to read later.