How do you get your teenager to read?

Karen - posted on 04/07/2010 ( 27 moms have responded )

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My 16 year old is very gifted in math, however he hates to read. He is a junior in high school and college is just around the corner. How do you get your kid to read, if they hate to do it?

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Brittany - posted on 06/21/2013

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Hello! I'm actually not a mom, but a recent-ish teenager, who incidentally LOVES to read. I stumbled upon this post and it really tugged at my heart and wanted to put my two cents in (if that's alright with all of you :) ).
First, major applause to all you moms trying to get your kids to read. How beautiful and sweet!
Second, actual insight. As a writer, reader, author and spazzy human, I get how hard it is to sit down and read as a teen. I speak to kids of all ages about reading and writing, and tutor them one-on-one. Find what they're interested in, yes, but also find something with short sections. A five page chapter is going to suck them in way faster than a twenty-page one! A kicker can then be to offer incentives for continuing to read, whether by chapter, book, article, or whatever. That's really helped my students!
Good luck, all! I am so grateful to have had a mom that pushed reading!

Kelly - posted on 04/13/2010

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My son was the exact same way. Until he got his hands on a vampire book. Now he reads constantly. He even put down the game remote and prefers to read. He read all the TWILIGHT series and is now reading THIRST series and VAMPIRE ACADAMEY series and the VAMPIRE DIARES. As soon as a new one comes out he will find a way to get it. My suggestion is to find something he is curious about. Oh...he also reads Greek mythology stuff. Good luck!

Paula - posted on 04/07/2010

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mayb you could a cute girl he likes to tutor him maybe that will get him to show a little more into reading other wise i think it will come in time

Sandy - posted on 04/13/2010

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I'm married to a mathematician. He won't read novels. He WILL read novels that are math based, like Flatland. There are others as well. You might try Simon Singh's works as well. If you google math novels, you'd be surprised how much comes up. Techno kids don't always get the point of reading fiction, and may never like it that much. Words aren't their things so much. Yet give them non-fiction or novels having to do with their subject (and if they are good at it, it has to be a fairly high level novel written by another math person), and they take off and love it. There's nothing wrong with preferring non-fiction. It was the most read genre for centuries, until the late 1700's gave rise to the novel.

Angie - posted on 04/11/2010

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My son hates to read too and he is also a high school junior. I can't force him to read but he is bright and understands that he has to read to be successful in college, your son will understand that soon too.

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Holly - posted on 04/03/2013

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you can't just one day expect your child to want to read. I have read to my children every night, and still do, they are not quite teenager, but that is only around the corner for me, and i come here often to see what i am up against... but i will tell you i know my children will love to read because i DO read to them for an hour each night.

Queen - posted on 04/03/2013

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My 16 year old boy is doing matric this year but he doesnt study after school he go to play soccer, when he comes home he sleep cause he is tired, he dont want to touch any book, itry to remind him that he is doing grade 12, he said to me, they study enough at school and his afrikaans is poor I dont know what to do.
My other son is 19 year old he is nolonger going to school,he said he cant concetrate, I try to take him to FET Colleges but it did not help, he was absent everyday. At the age of six I discovered that he had ADHD, he was ok after using treatment then i stop the treatment cause he was fine he was getting high marks at school in grade 4 like outstanding marks in all the subjects, but at grade 8,9 and 10 he drops, then he was nolonger want to go to school, even now he took his clothes and say he nolonger want to stay with us, he stay in his friends idont know the place,he first tell the therapist after they said his got depression cause he was nolonger taking a bath like he use to bath, can wear a thing for 2 weeks if your wont intervene.I am trouble i dont what to do, I want him to go back to school. From Queen Mudawe Soshanguve

Jmiller693 - posted on 12/30/2012

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find out what books theyre interested in and make them read it. sounds horrible but kids dont really know whats good for them til theyre older and will thank you for the push:)

Cari - posted on 12/25/2012

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got it. get him a book on a biography of a great mathematician... I just thought of that . but make sure is like a great book......! he can start there.!!

Phaedra - posted on 12/25/2012

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my exhusband use to punish my son by making him read adult chapter books in 3rd grade now he hates reading. What can i do to help him enjoy it now?

Suhaill Muniz - posted on 04/15/2010

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i have a teenage son that did not like to read at all i took him to barns and nobles book store and i let him pick a book that interested him and know he asks me if we could go for he could get a book thank you...

Mary - posted on 04/14/2010

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My 13 year old daughter loves to read and then my 17 year old boy HATES to read!! My daughter I have sign up for the summer reading program which she checks out at least one book every 2 weeks and I continue to keep a reading log at home so that she continues to read during the summer months.. and keeps her occupied with good things to do with her spare time..



My 17 year old boy is a struggle but as stated above finding reading material that suits there interest weather it be the sports section of the newspaper etc.. Its what interests them.. I could care less about who made the Touchdown for the Detroit Lions but he sure does.. so I may hand him the paper and say did you read this article about Barry Sanders... example... and it will peek his interest.... Also to include: My son has an eye problem and has since he was younger, which I feel is the reason that he does not like to read..

Lynn - posted on 04/14/2010

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I am the mother of a 17 yr old girl and neither of us are strong readers, nor do we "enjoy" the reading experience. I was read to, as a child and I have read to both of my children. Matter of fact, my daughter began reading quite young and we both enjoyed the time together. However, as middle school approached, I noticed a distinct reluctance to anything involving reading, EXCEPT for her deep love of Manga and regular treks to the library. After much thought and prayer, I decided to zero in on any problems methodically. First stop, a trip to the eye doctor. (vision good) Next, a reading comprehension assessment. (ah-ha! poor comprehension with an indication of dyslexia) Next, testing by a psychologist specifically for dyslexia. (results- severe)
It was then that I learned I am ALSO dyslexic. After her (5-day) treatment, she went from 8th grade reading level to 11th grade! And, although she doesn't read fast, she now LOVES to read.

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My 16 yr old daughter is the same way. She even buys books she wants to read, starts them, and 6 months later hasn't finished one. I used to buy comic books for my son who hated to read. At least he read something, but I don't know how to fix that one.

Sarah - posted on 04/11/2010

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When my daughter wants to do a project or cook something that has directions, I will not help her. I make her read the directions and follow them herself. (reading comprehension)

Sarah - posted on 04/11/2010

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I have the same problem with my daughter who is 14. I found out that she like non-fiction. She will sit down and devour a non-fiction on a subject that she's into. But gets bored with fiction. Another thing is when a movie based on a book is coming out that she wants to see, I'll agree to take her to see the movie as soon as she finishes the book.

Good Luck!

Chris - posted on 04/10/2010

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Well it's hard but the trick is to find books on things he likes or is interested in..for ex: sports, movies ect...good luck I had the same problem but I found something she liked and I can't get her to stop reading...

Tricia - posted on 04/09/2010

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these posts need to be directed for the teenager, as the question indicates. It is easier to get a younger person to read when you have total control of there whereabouts and what they like to do so you can hold back a 'favorite' until the reading is done. For a teenager it is totally different. I also, have a teenager who hates to read is very bright, the president of his sophomore class, and lettered in two sports. his schedule is busy, and will start working soon so i dont have alot of time with him. So, this is what i have done. Since I was involved in his school and the staff knows me. I went to the guidance counselor for direction. Is there possibly a reading teacher on staff to help him during a study hall to help with the course load?? Also, I have been asking him what career path he is looking at so he can 'read' up on what it would take to get there. If he is focused on the future of his choice, and lets face it, reading is a part of EVERYDAY life, he will be more determined to do the necessary reading to get there. And, if he starts there eventually your gifted math student will understand that there is no getting around reading and will finally resolve himself to that fact. BUT he has to come to that determination on his own.

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I homeschool my children. What we've done in the past was I set an hour aside each and everday that they had to read. After that hour they had to report to me what they read about. I have two boys and a daughter, one son loves to read science fiction (mainly dragons), my daughter loves to read anything and another son who absolutely hated reading. The only way to suceed in the future is you have to read. So I made a schedule and all the children had to abide by the rule or they could not do what they wanted (t.v., outside play, computer, swimming, etc). For my youngest, he had to read in front of me so I would know that he actually read and did not make up his story (he is very imaginative). Now he will tell me if he likes a story or if the story is boring. They have to read at least six chapters before they can say a story is boring. Only due to a lot of the books out there may be start off boring but will pick up after the second or third chapter. But like the others have said, reading is reading. I do not believe the internet should be included, you are giving them what they wanted in the first place. I once had someone look at me in the face and tell me that my son should be reading chapter books not comic books. I looked right back and said I look at this way, he is reading something and it is a start. My son was in the second grade at that time!

Rebeca - posted on 04/09/2010

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Hi, I agree that reading is very important but as Leslie said, magazines, newspapers etc are all reading material. If he is interested in maths, he has an analytical mind so he may enjoy mysteries, books where he has to figure things out for himself, even choose your own adventure or pick a path books.

Taking him to Borders with a gift voucher is a fantastic idea, it is hard not to find anything he would find interesting in that store. Another idea is books of any tv shows or movies he likes such as Dexter, Twilight etc.

It might be an idea to start off with thin novels rather than intimidating thick volumes.

Good Luck, he is obviously a smart kid. My son also does not really like reading, he is only 9 so I read hima bedtime fairytale every night and pay him 50 cents for every book he reads. He has just started to read Andy Roddick books rather than picture books and is enjoying it more and more as he gets better at it and recognises more words. Your son is much older but may still respond to a monetary reward of say $2 per book read over a period of say a month (so you don't go broke), but hopefully if that encourages him to start reading he will discover some authors he likes and will want to read more of their books.

Kellean - posted on 04/08/2010

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I didn't enjoy reading as a teen. I wasn't read to very much when I was young. My mom didn't enjoy reading. I truly believe that my grades suffered in middle school because I didn't. When I got in high school I learned that the two were connected. Reading and school. If I wanted to succeed in school I needed to learn how to read properly, I started out with books that interested me like sci fi and fantasy. There it started and I learned to enjoy reading. I also did better in school work. As a mom I started reading to my children when they were in my womb and to this day they all love reading as do I. I learn what books they like or the authors and every time I am out I stop by and pick up a few books for them. You can learn to enjoy reading at any age. It is never too late. I have also eliminated the tv. I find that if there is tv it is always a distraction. As a teen not liking to read I did not enjoy going to the library. It was always too stuffy. Take your teen to Borders or some large book store. Give them a gift card and encourage them to look around and find a few good books to read. Be enthusiastic and read a few book covers to them. Everything is laid out at these book stores to encourage reading.
It takes time and encouragement. Your family can be together in the same room and each of you reading a book. If he sees you reading he may enjoy it even more! Good luck!

Laura - posted on 04/08/2010

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Karen,

You have to find books that will get them excited about reading. I have a daughter that is 14 and loves to read and my son who is 9 isn't that excited about reading. Like your son, my son is more of a math guy. We just found some books lately that I think are totally cool for junior high school boys too. Try the Alex Rider series of books. It's about a young teenage boy who becomes a spy. Another one that seems to spark my son's attention is "The Look Glass Wars" which is a spinoff on Alice in Wonderland with a lot of action. My son is interested in all the neat weapons. Hope this helps.

If you want more book recommendations, please contact me. My daughter has read so many books that she is like a librarian. Just let me know what interests your son.

Laura

Jane - posted on 04/07/2010

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It's interesting....I believe by this age, you can't get them to enjoy reading anymore. I hated (and still struggle with the enjoyment of it at 51) reading so I was determined to create readers when I had kids. I started them young....at 2, we read every day together and then once they could read on their own, I bought book after book after book. I now have two (20 and 16) that have cost me a FORTUNE in books but I don't care. They both LOVE to read. BUT, I firmly believe that if I didn't start them when I did, they wouldn't enjoy it like they do.



Now, with that said, what is he interested in? If you focus books that are completely within his interest (science fiction, mystery, thrillers, midevil times, etc) then you might be able to get him into something. As a person who hated reading, i wish someone would have pushed me. I push myself now but I definetly stick with specific genres and I figure as long as I'm reading and enjoying it than that's all that matters even IF I don't branch out.

Leslie - posted on 04/07/2010

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Find something (anything) that interests him. Remember, magazines, websites, the newspaper etc... are all reading materials. He doesn't have to read a book in order to read.

Theresa - posted on 04/07/2010

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Your son is older, so I don't know if this will work. With my sons I made them earn time on the TV, computer or video games. For each minute they read they earned 1 minute for one of those things. They couldn't do any of those things unless they read first. They were 13 and 10 when I started that. I did it during the summer. My oldest started to enjoy reading after that. He now reads every night before bed for at least 1/2 hour, more on weekends. The hardest part is finding books that are the type of story he likes.

Aliska - posted on 04/07/2010

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This is a hard one. My son also hates reading. He will read the sport section of the newspaper and the websites of his favourite sports teams. I think you have to put out of your head, your notion of a 'good' book and supply them with books that suit their interests. At the moment my son is fascinated by organised crime, gang wars etc and is actually reading a biography of a former criminal / gang member. Not to my taste and not what I'd like him to read if I had a choice but any reading is better than none. My son will listen to audio books, not quite the same as reading but again better than nothing.

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