Do you have a middle schooler? Want to help them develop a love of reading?
Reading is important. It’s how we learn, grow, and become better people. But it can be difficult to get tweens to read. That’s why I want to share 6 ways you can help your middle schooler fall back in love with reading! Whether you’re an educator or parent, these tips will help your child become lifelong readers and thinkers!
Let’s get started, shall we?
Importance of Reading Books for Students
Reading is crucial to a student’s success. It helps your tween become a better thinker and makes them more well-rounded as an individual. It provides kids with knowledge, skills, and understanding that can be used throughout their lives.
Reading fiction has also been shown to improve empathy and build social skills, which means readers tend to have an easier time getting along with others and making friends.
Books allow tweens to escape reality and experience different worlds through words. People get lost in books and can put themselves right there, experiencing things they may never get to experience otherwise.
Escapism boosts imagination and creativity, which will help students do well on projects throughout their school years and beyond. It makes understanding new concepts easier when their minds are open to new ideas.
Research shows that students who read more do better on standardized tests than those who don’t.
Benefits of Reading
Reading has many benefits. Here are several:
- It stimulates the imagination and creativity of children, which is very important for their development.
- Reading can be an escape from stress in a busy world where we have so much going on all around us. There are few things better than losing yourself in a book!
- Children who develop their love for reading tend to be more compassionate and empathetic towards others because they understand that people all around them have different experiences, which makes each life unique in its own way. There is simply no denying how important this has become today where we live in such diverse communities and societies.
- Books teach children about new things and subjects they’re interested in, which can be applied to their studies.
- Books help with stress relief because readers are able to escape their daily life and enter into a different world. This allows them to forget about the troubles that they are facing for a little while, which reduces stress. Books allow us an easy way out of our thoughts and worries before going to sleep so we can relax more easily as well.
- Reading has been proven by scientists as being very beneficial for our health! Not only does it help relieve stress but it boosts brainpower. Reading stimulates neurons within the brain thus helping memory retention and concentration levels. The importance of reading books can’t be stressed enough!
6 Ways to Develop a Passion for Reading During the Tween Years
Model a happy reading life at home
Lead by example. Read for fun yourself and show your tween how enriching it is to curl up with a book or e-reader.
When tweens see their parents and other adults in the house enjoying books, it encourages them to do so as well. You stress the importance of reading books through your actions. Think about how pervasive phones and TV are for young people. We can’t control the magnetic pull to use those devices but we can control the number of books that line shelves in our children’s rooms (and whether there are any at all).
If you don’t have the budget for new book purchases, start by borrowing from friends or libraries. Make sure there are plenty around! Even if your kid isn’t particularly interested, having access will encourage more frequent casual reading throughout childhood.
Try comics or manga
Tweens love manga! They can be much more relatable (and less intimidating) than regular books.
Comic strips, graphic novels, and manga can still help build reading comprehension skills by providing visual clues as well as words on each page. Besides, the illustrations in manga are stunning and fun to look at. This is also an excellent way to get them thinking creatively about how stories are told through art.
If your young person likes nonfiction but doesn’t seem interested in fiction, try finding a biography or autobiography to share with them. There are so many great ones out there! For instance, Hidden Figures, Rising Above: How 11 Athletes Overcame Challenges In Their Youth to Become Stars, and Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy.
Let your tween read any book that is available to them, even if it seems like something you wouldn’t pick for them.
Play audiobooks in the car
Audiobooks are a great way to get through more books. Listening in the car is an easy way to spend time on road trips and commutes, or even when taking public transportation to school.
You can find thousands of audiobook titles out there that fit just about any interest at all, so it’s easy to expand your horizons with this medium! Stress the importance of reading books all day every day…
It’s also nice not having to read every book cover to cover before deciding if you want to give it a try!
Buddy read with your tween
It is a great way to bond and helps them develop into an independent reader. Talk about what they are reading as you read the same book together.
Read books that interest your tween, not just those designed for their age group. Some of today’s most popular middle school fiction has been written specifically for older children but is also suitable for younger readers who can handle more mature storylines or language than what would be found in a typical book aimed at their age group.
This allows parents to find books that will keep their kids interested while still catering to each person’s interests and abilities. For example, Magnus Chase appeals to both younger and older readers.
Read books that your tween can understand, but challenge their thinking with more complex storylines or vocabulary when they are ready for it.
Middle schoolers should be encouraged to read widely—from classics to contemporary fiction. If you’re looking for suggestions of titles that might make good buddy reads for this age group, try one of these: When You Reach Me, The Wednesday Wars, and Spy School.
Further information on buddy reading: Why Participate in a Buddy Read and How to Use Buddy Reading to Get Your Tween to Pick Up a Book for Fun.
Limit screen time
With so many other activities competing for your tween’s attention, limiting screen time may help them focus more on the importance of reading books. Encourage them to read before bedtime or during any downtime at home when they’re not playing video games or watching TV.
Studies show that tweens who spend more time reading books than watching TV, playing video games, and surfing the web are more likely to be better adjusted and happier than those who don’t read as much or at all.
No matter how you look at it, the importance of encouraging your kids to sit down with a good book cannot be underestimated. Just take a look at some of these statistics :
- Children who read fifteen minutes a day perform significantly better in vocabulary and spelling than non-readers.
- When children are between the ages of 8 and 12, their vocabulary continues to grow at a rate of one new word every two hours. But if they lose reading skills during this crucial time, vocabulary skills will decrease and may not return to previous levels.
- Children who read 3-5 books a month tend to be better behaved than non-readers according to reports from parents and teachers.
Involve them in a book club
If your tween has friends who read, joining a middle school book club is another way to encourage reading and share their thoughts with other kids going through the same changes as they are.
You can even start your own book club yourself by inviting like-minded parents together for meetings that don’t involve homework or studying!
The benefits of reading are endless, and it’s never too late to start developing a love for the written word.
Because your tween is still learning how to think critically, they’ll be more likely to take in what they read. If you’re looking for tips on how to help your middle schooler develop an interest in reading, this article has six ways that may work well!
Get started today by finding some good books (or ebooks) with high ratings at your bookstore or library. Want even more advice? Subscribe to my email list so we can send you updates about all things related to helping your child become a better thinker.