Developing the Love of Reading in Your Teen

Posted on November 04 2012

Reading is one of the cornerstones of learning. As Dr. Suess quite aptly puts it,

“The more that you read,
The more things you will know
The more that you’ll learn,
The more places you’ll go.

Reading engages the mind and the imagination. When you learn to interact with the written page, you learn to ask questions, to form opinions, to choose whether to agree or to disagree with what you’re reading. When it comes to academics, other subjects all need some level of reading skill. Subjects such as English, Science, language and history depend on one’s ability to read and comprehend.

For an online high school, one secret to success would be your child’s reading and comprehension ability. Although there are interactive learning tools that are used in an online high school program, a large portion of the learning will still be reading-based. Reading also enriches the vocabulary and gives your child a natural “sense” for grammar. This will help in the writing assignments that your child will have.

So, how do you establish the skill and love for reading? Here are some ways you can encourage them to appreciate the beauty of the written word:

  • Make reading a daily activity. Read to (and later, read with) your child while he is young. A good bedtime story cannot only give a nice cap for the day, but also be a good opportunity to bond with your child. As the child relates reading to the pleasure of just spending time with you, this routine will send a solid message to him that he is important to you, and so is reading. Take turns reading a story or assign your child to read a particular character (complete with acting out the voice, expressions and sound effects of how you imagine the character to be).
  • Be a good role model. For your child to develop the love for reading, as with other good habits, he must first see it modeled by you. Let your child see that you are also reading for pleasure. May personal reading part of your daily routine. Or better yet, establish a reading time in the family’s schedule.
  • Make visits to the local library or bookstore part of your routine. Give your child a break from his online high school classes by visiting your local library or bookstore. At your local library, apply for a library card and introduce your child to the librarian. The librarian can be a helpful friend in providing a wealth of books that will interest your child.
  • Discover your child’s interest and provide him with books about the topic. What topics, subjects or activities is your child interested in? If he is a sports or history buff, you will find him devouring books covering even the tiniest of details about his favorite athlete or historical figure. Harness your child’s adventurous side with a favorite mystery book. Is your child given to flights of fancy and imagination, why not start with all-time favorite such as The Chronicles of Narnia or your favorite fairy tale?
  • Build your home library. Have books readily available for your child. With the advent of eBooks and mobile book applications, this does not have to cost an arm and a leg. You can load your iPad or tablet with books your child can be interested in. allow your child to also choose the books they like.
  • Don’t force, encourage. Forcing your child to read 20 pages a day will make it a chore instead of an activity he does for pleasure. Instead, do this through positive reinforcement.
  • Ask questions about the story. Ask “why”, “how”, or “what if” questions that make your child think and form his own opinions. Encourage your child to relate to the character by asking, “Do you agree with the main character did?” “How do you think he felt about a certain event?” “How would you have acted, if you were in his place?”. Also, ask your child to provide an alternative ending to the story.

These simple tips can help establish a strong foundation for your child to experience academic success – whether it be through a “traditional” school or an accredited online high school.