Encouraging Tween Reading

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By Katherine Doble-Cannata, Co-Founder & Publisher


It was easy to encourage 4 year-old Maddy to read.  All I had to do was say, “It’s time for bed,” and instantaneously six books would appear in her hands.   Right around the time she hit the tween years, the demands of school work, busy extracurricular activity schedules and the transition from “baby” books to chapter books made reading seem like a chore.   Luckily, by employing some of these tips, we were able to make reading fun again.

  • Reading Time vs. Bed Time  – I’m not stupid.  I realize that one of Maddy’s reasons for wanting to read six books every night wasn’t because she had an amazing love of reading.  She wanted to prolong bed time for as long as possible.  The same holds true now except with a twist.  While we no longer read to her, Maddy is allowed to stay up an extra half-hour past her bed time as long as she is in bed reading.  I picked up this trick from my husband’s cousin who has three tweens of her own.  Some nights they’ll chose to sleep but 99% of the time they are in bed quietly flipping through a book.
  • Read Together – Grab two copies of the same book and read it together.  It’s a fun way to encourage reading and a great way to start a dialogue with your child.
  •  Tween Story Time – Let’s put those reading skills and immense amount of energy to good use.  Encourage your tween to read to their younger siblings.  Maddy enjoys cracking her brother up with silly voices and crazy noises.
  • Books, Books Everywhere – Give your tween books as gifts.  Take them to the library regularly.  Put a bookshelf in their bedroom.  Buy them an e-reader.  The more you can surround your kids with books, the more likely they are to read.
  •  Join our Los Tweens Book Club – Maddy and her Godmother are kicking off the Los Tween Book Club this week.  They will be reading tween-friendly books and video blogging about them each month.  Tweens will have the opportunity to join their discussions during upcoming Tweenversations.

Time invested in encouraging your tween to read will make a huge difference in their lives.  It has for Maddy.  We recently found out she was chosen to participate in the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP) for scoring in the 96th percentile in reading comprehension on a standardized test.   I can only attribute this honor to the love of reading that she has developed through-out the years with our encouragement.  Happy Reading!

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