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Tips for parents to encourage reading

Tips for parents to encourage reading

You are not alone, there are many parents who complain that they struggle to get their teens and preteens to read anything but Facebook. As an adult, you know that reading is important and you obviously want to make sure that the young adults in your life grow into adulthood with all the skills they need to succeed.

 1. Set an example.

Let teens see you reading for pleasure.

2. Furnish your home with a variety of reading materials.

Leave books, magazines, and newspapers around. Check to see what disappears for a clue to what interests your teenager.

3. Give teens an opportunity to choose their own books.

When you and your teen are out together, browse in a bookstore or library. Go your separate ways and make your own selections. A bookstore gift certificate is a nice way of saying, “You choose.” Or allow them to buy a book from the TDA Book Fair usually held in November.

4. Build on your teen’s interests.

Look for books and articles that feature their favourite sports teams, rock stars, hobbies, or television shows. Give a gift subscription to a special interest magazine.

5. View pleasure reading as a value in itself.

Almost anything your youngsters read—including the Sunday comics—helps build reading skills.

6. Read some books written for teens.

Young adult novels can give you valuable insights into the concerns and pressures felt by teenagers. You may find that these books provide a neutral ground on which to talk about sensitive subjects.

7. Acknowledge your teen’s mature interests.

Look for ways to acknowledge the emerging adult in your teens by suggesting some adult reading you think they can handle. Or encourage them to ask their school librarian.

8. Keep the big picture in mind.

For all sorts of reasons, some children and teenagers go through periods without showing much interest in reading. Don’t panic! Time, and a few tips from this article, may help rekindle their interest.

Adults know how important it is for their children to read. Reading is not just important while children and young adults are in school; good reading skills are essential to future success in the workplace. 

Tips for encouraging boys to read


Research shows that boys are less likely to enjoy reading than girls. More boys than girls struggle with reading and writing at school and boys are more likely to say they don’t spend any time reading outside the classroom.

So, what can parents do to encourage their boys to read and to enjoy books? Here are our top tips:

1. Make reading active
Boys thrive on activity, so incorporate this into reading time.  Get your son/s to “act out” what they have read and pretend to be book characters – you can join in too!  Encourage them to create illustrations, make a comic strip, or a movie outline, design a game and do these things together.

2. Provide male reading role models
Male role models are really important. Fathers, grandfathers, uncles and older brothers can all play their part by letting younger boys see them reading.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the newspaper, a book or a recipe. In copying reading behaviour boys will gain confidence and get to be great readers too.

3. It doesn’t have to be just books
Reading is reading, no matter what it is.  Magazines and comics are a great way to encourage boys to read as they tend to be visual learners. Try visiting to make your own!  Reading doesn’t have to mean just sitting down with a book; words are everywhere.  Use road signs, posters, television guides and shopping lists to get your boys reading.

4. Give lots of praise
Boys thrive on praise and will love getting attention for positive behaviours!  When he is reading well, give him encouragement and be specific rather than general about the praise you are giving. If a boy can understand exactly what he has done to earn the praise, he will learn more quickly.  Make it clear that if he makes a mistake reading, he is not a failure – that’s the way you learn.

5. Use an interest as a hook
If there is a hobby or sport your son likes, find relevant fictional or non-fictional books that will appeal to him. Whether your boy likes soldiers, nature, aeroplanes, pirates, or motorbikes, go to the library together and look for books on the subject. Encourage them to visit the library, who can make recommendations or find the right books.

6. Build regular reading time into the day
Set aside a regular time to read with boys and listen to them reading. Don’t stop reading with boys once they can read themselves, as boys can switch off from reading once they know the basics. Keep them interested by talking about the plot, asking who their favourite character is and what a different end to a story might be. Share books – your childhood favourites and read their suggestions – discuss!

7. Experiment with genres
Encourage boys to try out a variety of books and authors to see what suits their taste - fast-paced adventure, horror and science-fiction are often popular, as are fact-based books such as the Guinness Book of Records

8. Bedside lamp
Instead of letting your son watch TV or play his DS at bedtime – swap these for a bedside reading lamp – and let him stay up for an extra 30 minutes as long as they are reading!