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
- Have daily media-free time
- Embrace new ways
- Grab a graphic novel
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.
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.
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.
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.