expert advice MORE
A Love of Reading
Q: My 13-year-old daughter never reads a book for pleasure and puts off reading assignments until the last minute. She would rather play sports. Usually when she does read, at my insistence, she falls asleep. She does love to read teen magazines and the local newspaper, but that doesn't seem to give her what I want her to have!
My concern is that she is missing out on a wonderful world -- there are so many books I'd love for her to dive into -- and she is not building vocabulary skills.
She's an A student, top of her class -- I just want to know if there's any way to get her interested in books. I should also note that I've tried everything -- reading to her every night for many years, even reading to her in recent years and months to try and spark an interest for her to do so independently. I've talked to teachers, had her vision checked, etc. Oddly, also, she's quite a good writer. Should I just give up?
A: Keep reading to your daughter from the wonderful world of books that you want to share with her. By doing this, you are definitely increasing her vocabulary and exposing her to good literature. At the same time, encourage her to continue reading her teen magazines and the newspaper. Any form of reading is definitely beneficial for her. Did you know that many social studies classes actually base their curriculum on the current events that can be learned by reading the newspaper? Plus, the more children read, the more they are enticed to read even more.
Since your daughter is an A student, she must be doing a good job completing all her required reading assignments for school. Please give her credit for all the reading she is doing. Insisting that she read more is not likely to be an effective technique in getting her hooked on reading -- it could even be counter-productive.
To hook your daughter on reading more, try reading current teen fiction to her. This genre is generally easy and quick to read and may attract her into reading some of these books on her own. Since you are only going to read a portion of a book in an evening, you may find your daughter picking up a particularly interesting book and reading ahead if you leave the book lying around. Gaining pleasure from reading teen books could even lead her to read more literate works.
There really aren't a lot of jobs for young teens. You might encourage your daughter to become more interested in books by urging her to do some volunteer work in the children's section of the library this summer or in a local nursing home reading to the elderly.
More on: Expert Advice
Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.