Scholastic’s recent article Spark Your Tween’s Interest in Reading discussed strategies for keeping tweens engaged in reading, especially when so many other activities are vying for their attention. My favorite tip from this article was:
Teens and tweens like to make their own selections…Let your child choose her own books from the library and for purchase.
Allowing tweens to make their own reading selections involves a few key pieces for surefire success. I would suggest trying the following:
1) Taking tweens to visit the library and have a librarian engage in what’s called a ‘reader’s advisory’ session. Librarians will ask questions like “What types of books do you like to read?” or “Is there a book you’ve read recently that you really love?”. If the tween doesn’t really have a favorite book, the librarian might ask what movies or television series they enjoy to watch.
Often times the movie or TV series is based off a book, like some of these recent book to the screen phenoma: the Twilight, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Pretty Little Liars, the Lying Game, Eragon or Inkheart series. As a teen myself, I only really started reading trilogies and series when I saw a movie adaptation and thought “now I *must* read what happens next!”. This can help spark in an interest in those types of books.
2) Join a book club appropiate for that age group. Noted in the scholastic article, tweens tend to be very social & are developing their social skills. By participating in a book club, tweens can read & discuss new books or books that they might not have normally picked up on their own.
3) Trying using pre-made book lists and read-a-like lists. Online sources like blogs, articles and databases provide an abundance of resources to find the type of book for a tween reader.
4) Graphic novels! I am obsessed with graphic novels. I believe that this book format in particular helps readers transition to new levels of reading (or transition into reading in general( through providing so many different genres and levels of interest. Library Journal published this list of Graphic Novels for Reluctant Readers in 2010. There are some new titles since the list was published but it’s a wonderful starting point.
Useful articles for reluctant tween readers
- Philip Crawford’s “Using Graphic Novels to Attract Reluctant Readers”
- Hannah Trierweiler Hudsons’ “The Best Graphic Novels for Reluctant Readers”
- The Whole Kid, Learn to Succeed Blog post, “Graphic Novels for Reluctant Readers”
- Elizabeth Kennedy, “Resources for Reluctant Readers, Hi-Lo Books”
- GoodReads Listopia, Best Books for Reluctant Readers
- Greatschool’s tips for reluctant readers
- Renee Kirchner, “Is Your Middle Schooler a Reluctant Reader?”
- Author Marcia Scheel’s Tips for Hooking Reluctant Readers