The average teenagers’ attention span is equal to that of a mosquito.
I am barely joking… you parents get it. Between all the school activities, sports, homework, etc. you may have noticed how busy and distracted your teenager has become. This article explains the medical phenomenon behind the lack of a teenagers attention span.
Frequently, when chatting with my friends about a new book, we will discuss our kids reading habits. Or should I say lack of reading habits? Specifically our teenagers’ attention span with reading material. The big question? How to get teens to focus on reading more?
Teens hardly have any spare time. And they don’t seem to be reading if they do! Any extra time they do have is usually sucked up by electronic devices, cell phones, tablets, video games, etc.
There is help! I racked my brain with some ideas on just how to get teenagers to read.
It can be overwhelming with how to get them back to reading again. It’s tough for teens too; their tastes are changing and no longer do they
want to read kiddy books. It is a challenge for both parents and young teens to find books that interest them.
I came up with a few tips and pointers. My friends and I have tried several of these ideas. Some have worked great, others not so much. Test them out and see what works for you!
First of all, find out what interests them.
What kinds of movies are they into? What types of subjects do they look at on the internet? How would these relate to book genres? Do they like to watch sports, cooking shows, mysteries, adventure shows? Maybe they are into comedy, graphic novels or drama? Whatever they are into, there is a genre for that.
Find a great series in their favorite genre.
Book series are awesome because they will keep teens reading. One book right after another is a perfect way to keep them interested. Series are frequently cliffhangers and your kids will be begging you to get the next book in line. Teens have a harder time finding books just to their taste, so book series make it easy for them. Check out our post We Provide, You Decide – The Best Books for Teenagers
“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him” – Maya Angelou
In a nutshell, don’t be critical of their choices, just be glad they are reading!
Help them, yes, but remember they are becoming more independent. Teenagers will be more likely to read something of their choice. Aren’t we all? As long as it is appropriate for their reading level, and the content is age appropriate.
Be a role model.
Practice what you preach, we all hear it. If your kids see you spending time with a good book or even just a magazine, they will more likely follow suit. You can say it all you want, but until you show them you are reading too, they won’t be very motivated.
Step away from the computer put down your phone and pick up some reading material. You don’t have to be the scary mommy and shout out, “shut it down!” I’ve done that before; I even scared the poor pets. All that did was make me a leper.
Set aside time just for reading. Like a “no tech time.”
Be subtle, just turn off the boob tube, silence your cell phone and curl up on the couch with a book and a giant bowl of ice cream. The more you do this, the more you will enjoy it too, and not just the ice cream part! Your family will see this and hopefully follow suit.
Be interested in what they are reading!
Talk about it, ask them about the event or person. What’s going on, what do you think? Do you agree? Be curious, ask all sorts of questions. It will get them thinking, and you may just have some amazing discussions with your teenager!
You say “what?” A real face to face conversation with my teenager?
I think I just saw some pigs flying around….just try it! What have you got to lose? If you don’t know what questions to ask, try reading the article, blog, or book for yourself? Either way, I want to know what my kid is ‘into.’
Load up their tablets with e-books!
Like I mentioned, the library has tons of free e-books. There are also several different sites for free or discounted e-books. It may depend on the type of tablet they have, so just check it out. They all have different programs and certain sites work with certain tablets. I personally love my Kindle and Amazon Prime account. I practically have an endless supply of free or crazy cheap e-books.
If your teenager is comfortable with his or her tablet, this may be more appealing to them rather than a traditional book. Plus, as long as they have their tablet with them, they have their book too! It’s like slipping healthy food into a desert.
Take field trips to the library or the bookstore!
Being surrounded by thousands of books is a great way to get the itch to read! Look for books together, so they aren’t overwhelmed by the choices. Ask for help from the librarians. They love books more than anyone and want to help you in any way! The same goes for the staff at the bookstore, and they are a wealth of knowledge.
Libraries sell books for practically nothing!
Frequently when we visit the library, they are selling tons of books at the entrance. Some of them are odd books, like a German cooking book from 1950, but if you do a little digging, you’ll find tons of great books! They do a good job of separating them into genres, types, etc. so it is quite easy to narrow down what interests you. I have found several hard back favorites for about $3 or less each.
Start your own family book club, with incentives!
Have a little friendly competition, whatever is appropriate for the age of your kids. Read the books with them and have discussions after over some ice cream! What a great way to spark more interest and make it fun for everyone! You also can give bookstore gift cards as rewards. A smart and sneaky way to get more books in their hands!
Encourage them to have a book club with friends!
If all the kids in the club read a certain amount, you can host a pizza party at your house! This is a win win!! I bet the parents would love to get their kids reading more, and would join you in supporting a friends book club!
Fill your house with books!
Just last night my daughter said, “I have nothing to read!” This coming from the girl who has three overflowing bookshelves in her room….In my best teenager voice, I replied, “really?”
Make it easy for them to pick up a book. Get as many as you can get from the library, you can usually get 25-50 books, depending on the library. Also, check out used book stores, they have great deals! Keep your books out and easy to see. This way they are readily available.
Periodically, I will leave books or magazines out on the counter, or on the table, and guess what happens? You got it! They start reading them! When my son became interested in more “worldly” events, I noticed he was interested in my news magazines. So… I started leaving them around the house; I think he ended up reading them more than I did.
I sure hope some of these ideas help you. Have fun with it and remember…
Read on my friends! Kris:)