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teens reading

Getting Teens to Drop Phones and Read Words… in a Book

Researchers have found that good reading comprehension is vital not only to succeeding academically, but it also develops greater cognitive connectivity, problem-solving abilities, better memory, more self-reflection, and develops greater attention spans.

The Challenge of Getting Teens off of Their Phones

As the parent of a teen, your job is never done. And your next challenge is trying to get your teenager to stop scrolling on their phone and instead pick up a book.

With headlines bewailing teens lack of interest in books and prophesying our world to be doomed because of that lack, what can a parent do to stem that tide?

Quite a lot as it turns out.

Parents DO Play Significant Roles in the Future and Success of Their Kids

A child’s academic success depends on their reading comprehension. From understanding word problems in math class to comprehending difficult scientific concepts, parents can play a significantly large part in their children’s academic success.

The U.S. Department of Education found that children with parents who wereinvolved in their education scored 28 points above the national average in reading comprehension. Those without invested parents typically scored 46 points below the national average.

How to Get Your Teen to Invest in Reading

Along with helping your teen with their overall academic performance, there are other things you can do to encourage your teen to become invested in reading.

  • Ask teen input

    One of your favorite books may be 1984 by George Orwell, but if your teen isn’t already a reader, this book isn’t likely to catch their attention. So instead of recommending what you think they should be reading, try exploring YA (young adult) books with your teen and let them pick out the ones that appeal to their interests. There are sites where you both can see how the books rate and a short summary to see if any interest is there.

  • Have daily media-free time 

    Pick a time and set it as “media-free time”. The duration doesn’t have to be very long. Start by getting unplugged for an hour at a time. While you may receive some initial pushback for this, it may be just the time allotment needed for your teen to discover a new hobby.

  • Embrace new ways 

    Print books aren’t the only “right” way to enjoy a good book. Some great alternatives are eBooks, with traditional publishers now making it a matter of course to release both a print and eBook version (with the eBook generally cheaper!).

    Most libraries apps like Overdrive to check out their eBooks. There are also audiobooks and podcasts that read to the listener, allowing your teen to enjoy the narrative in an audible format.

  • Grab a graphic novel

    For a generation that expects a high level of engagement, graphic novels can strike that perfect balance between focusing on a story and enjoying the method of presentation. Graphic novels aren’t like an Archie comic’s slap-stick humor offering little emotional depth.

    Many graphic novels examine topics like abuse, blending family dynamics, and loss in a manner that teens can more readily relate to. Reading about these topics allows teens to explore the concepts from a safe distance and develop their critical thinking skills as they deal with the new insights and life application.

With some creativity and patience, you can help your children develop a deeper appreciation of the written word and help them boost their ability to succeed in all other aspects of their lives.

Tyler Jacobson

Tyler Jacobson

Tyler Jacobson is a father, husband, and writer, with experience as a content writer and outreach coordinator for HelpYourTeenNow. Tyler has offered honest advice and humor to struggling parents and teens. Tyler has researched and written on education problems, disorders, the world of social media, addiction, and pressing issues with raising a teen today. Follow Tyler on:
Twitter | Linkedin | Google +

12 comments

  • I am all for this! I think social media is starting to run teens lives. It would be a great thing to designate media free time everyday. Reading is a great activity to replace scrolling

  • As a mom of two tween boys, I do struggle with getting them off their electronics. I love the idea of graphic novels and audio books. We have tons of books in the house and they loved reading when they were little but now, they are more interested in electronics. Thanks for the very helpful tips!

  • These are good points, but I have media time, not media free time. My tween and teen are limited to how much time they spend on electronic devices. Weekends are free time after chores are done, but no phones/computers during the school week.

  • We didn’t really push our daughter into reading but we were always telling her stories and we gave good examples by reading a lot. At first she was slow into reading, but now she knows what she likes and she reads more then ever

  • Indeed, it comes as a challenge when kids or teens need to read books leaving their gadgets. I have fixed the media time duration and my kid has to stick to it . That leaves a good time to read books and some worksheets for him.

  • I think it’s important to make sure children have screen free time whether it’s time away from phones, tv’s, ipads etc. Where possible it helps to encourage reading from a young age – something I am trying to do.

  • I agree with this! When my girls were really little (age 3 and 5) they even read archie comics and I was ok with that because they had interest and they turned into top level readers. You do need reading comprehension for other subjects, even math word problems!! Love this article.

  • This is a great idea. I think it is important to roll with the times but also remind the younger generation the importance of taking a tech time out.

  • I think getting of their phones or gadgets for a couple of hours a day is really important. It’s good to talk to them about this and to take them to a bookstore to find a book that will interest them. It’s not easy but it’s possible.

  • Graphic Novels were great for my middle kiddo, my first born will forever have a love of actual books and my youngest likes real-life stories/books. I read to my kids since birth, so therefore a love of books is something we all naturally had, but the younger two had moments of not liking books. You’re tips are very helpful.

  • It is really important to try and remind them there is a world outside of their phones and computer devices. I am terrible for it cos I work on them!
    commented and liked on behalf of Talya Stone

  • About Author

    Tyler Jacobson

    Tyler Jacobson

    Tyler Jacobson is a father, husband, and writer, with experience as a content writer and outreach coordinator for HelpYourTeenNow. Tyler has offered honest advice and humor to struggling parents and teens. Tyler has researched and written on education problems, disorders, the world of social media, addiction, and pressing issues with raising a teen today. Follow Tyler on:
    Twitter | Linkedin | Google +

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