I made a video today for my Youtube channel about why I still read aloud with my teens, and I thought I would expand upon it here.
Everyone who knows me, knows that I love books. I surround myself in stacks and stacks of books of every genre, so of course I want to encourage my children to love literature too. And the best way I know to help them to fall in love with reading is to make it a shared experience. When we read together it becomes a family activity, one in which we all take part. I may be the one doing the active reading, but I expect and encourage everyone will have something meaningful to add to the discussion.
For the record — my kids are just average teens. They love video games, anime, and watching their favorite Youtubers. They will read something if I assign it to them, but if left to their own devices they don’t often voluntarily pick up a book, so I read to them almost every day. While they might joke around about how much they dislike books, they will always happily quote from a favorite read aloud, or muse about why the Harry Potter movies left out Peeves, or discuss amongst themselves which book character could defeat the other in an epic battle. Little by little, I’m breaking down those “books are dumb” walls, and maybe someday, they will become readers too.
Perhaps you worry that your teen will think listening to their parent read aloud is lame? And maybe they even think that is true, but chance are good that your teen will secretly enjoy the experience, even if they don’t want to admit it… My advice to you is to give it a try. Choose a book that is very exciting and has a lot of action and cliffhanger chapters. This will keep them coming back for more.
Like Dory in Finding Nemo, “Just keep reading… just keep reading… what do we do, we read!” The more you read with your teens, the more the benefits will start to pay off. I promise that you won’t regret it. 😉
Here are the books I mentioned in my video:
Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)
The Hunger Games Trilogy box set
A Wrinkle in Time
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
To Kill a Mockingbird
Watership Down: A Novel
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Folger Shakespeare Library)
Leon Garfield’s Shakespeare Stories
Emily Cook is the author and creator of the secular homeschool curriculum Build Your Library, a literature-based K-12 program infused with the teachings of Charlotte Mason. She writes full year lesson plans as well as shorter topical unit studies. Emily has been homeschooling her four children in Southern NH for 17 years. She is passionate about reading aloud to children of all ages and loves to share her love of literature with others. She and her family also makes incredibly dorky videos about homeschooling, books and more on Youtube at ARRRGH! Schooling. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.