Improve Reading Skills
By Tim Tibbitts
If you compiled a list of the habits most likely to lead to success in high school and college, reading would top that list: reading for pleasure, reading to expand one’s vocabulary and worldview, reading every day.
In a world full of compelling distractions, parents play an important role in guiding their adolescents toward habitual reading. You can hone your kids’ reading habit without nagging or arguments, and you don’t need to be a Teen Librarian. In fact, you come into contact every day with reading material that is potentially relevant and interesting to your teens, and nourishing their reading can be as simple as regularly putting these materials in their path.
4 Ways to Improve Reading Skills
1. Start with a subscription to the daily newspaper and a news magazine. Read the newspaper at breakfast and discuss it while driving to practice. Also, you can hand your teenager the newspaper with a teaser like, “Oh, look. The Tribe ?nally won a game,” or leave Time magazine on your son’s bed, open to an article about some new technology.
2. Use technology to entice reluctant readers. Reach them in the medium they know best: electronic anything. If you come across an online article or blog post that you know your teens will ?nd interesting, email them about it.
3. For every interest, there’s plenty to read. Magazines such as Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine feature high quality writing that o?ers more depth than the local sports page. What’s more, an interest in sports can be a bridge to biographies, as well as to books related to business (e.g., Money Ball) and social issues (e.g., the steroid scandal).
4. Read together. Reading the same book can be very satisfying. Read one of your teen’s summer reading books. This can lead to great conversations. Another opportunity is to listen to a well-chosen audio on a long car ride.
Each of us has a deep need for information and knowledge. Reading is one way to ?ll that need and because reading well is so crucial to academic success, it’s a habit worth working hard to cultivate in our kids.
Tim Tibbitts is raising two teenagers in the suburbs of Cleveland, where he also runs The Whole Kid, a tutoring service.