Having a love for books will help your teen-ager sharpen his reading skills and build self-esteem. This should pave the way for future success in school, on the job, and in other activities. Reading books exposes your teen to many characters and situations, providing a variety of opportunities for personal reflection about his own values, hopes and dreams. Teens are constantly learning to deal with their many pressures, and often find it helpful to see how the characters in books solve their problems.
- Help your adolescent fit reading into his schedule. Most teens say they would read more if they had the time.
- As a parent, you are your teen-ager’s most important role model. Keep lots of books, magazines and newspapers around the house. Share your favorite books by reading interesting passages out loud from them.
- Spend time with your teen browsing in a bookstore or library. This will give you a chance to talk about his interests and learn more about him.
- Give your teen an opportunity to pick out what he will read. A gift certificate to a bookstore is a great way of saying “you choose!”
- Encourage reading, but don’t pressure or bribe your teen. Make it clear that he is reading for his own pleasure, not for your approval.
- Look for books and articles about your teen-ager’s favorite sports, hobbies or music. This is the type of reading he is most likely to enjoy, plus he’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness.
- Try not to criticize the books your teen-ager reads. If you are worried about a particular book, make sure you read it first, and then tell your teen why you don’t like it. Don’t forbid any books unless you feel it’s absolutely necessary.
When you look at lists of recommended books for adolescents, keep in mind that every teen is different, so books that appeal to one young person might not appeal to another. Teens mature at different rates, and their book choices vary with their interests, life experiences and reading abilities. You’ll quickly notice that recommendations from reading experts differ: One expert may recommend a particular book for eighth graders; another may recommend the same book for high school students or young adults. The most important recommendation is the one from your adolescent!