From creating a book club with friends to providing reading material that aligns with their interests, there are so many great ways to get your tweens excited about reading. Keep reading for some of my favorite ideas!
How to Get Your Tweens Excited About Reading
My son went through a major book rut in middle school. It was strange, really, because up until 6th grade, he couldn’t get enough of reading. He devoured every Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants, and Stick Dog book he could find.
Then he started 6th grade and just kind of outgrew a lot of his favorites. At the same time, he struggled to find books to replace them. These are some of the strategies that I tried (and some that I didn’t, but that I think would work for a lot of kids).
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You may also love: 50 Fabulous Summer Reading Books for Middle Graders
1. Pick books with cool covers and attention-grabbing titles
Yeah, yeah, you’re not supposed to judge a book by the cover. But if you want to encourage middle-grade reading for your tween, try this simple trick: pick books with really awesome covers and titles that catch their attention.
Middle-grade books cover pretty much every topic imaginable, from adventure and mystery to realistic fiction and sci-fi. Fortunately, there are plenty of visually appealing options to choose from.
Look for books that feature bright colors, fun illustrations, or intriguing fonts. Titles with puns or clever wordplay can also pique their interest. By using this strategy, you’ll not only spark their curiosity, but you’ll also help them develop a love for reading that will last a lifetime.
2. Find books that relate to their hobbies or interests
One way to encourage middle-grade reading is to find books that relate to your tween’s hobbies or interests. Some tweens are more likely to read if they feel like they are doing it for pleasure, rather than being forced to read for school.
For example, if your tween is into “who dunnit” stories, find middle-grade detective books that revolve around solving a mystery. If they enjoy mythology, you can never go wrong with Rick Riordan’s books.
This will not only increase the chances of them picking up the book but also help them better understand the topic and stay engaged with the story. The more your tween enjoys reading, the more they will want to keep reading.
3. Make reading a family activity by reading together or discussing books
Encouraging your tween to read can be a difficult task, but making it a family activity can make all the difference. Family reading time or book discussions are a great way to get your tween excited about middle-grade reading. Reading as a family also sets a positive example and shows your tween that it can be a fun pastime, rather than a chore.
Reading banned books together is a great way to get your tweens to open up and talk about difficult topics. By sharing the experience together, you provide a safe space for your tween to ask questions and share their thoughts. It’s easier for them to discuss sensitive stuff if they’re talking about characters in a book than their own lives.
4. Set aside a designated reading time each day
Set aside a designated reading time each day for your tween to dive into books and cultivate a love for reading. Encourage reading by making it a regular part of their routine. Before bed or right after school are great times to set aside for reading.
If you’re worried about your tween getting too distracted, consider setting aside a specific space for them to read in. You can even create a cozy reading nook or a “reading corner” to make the experience more enjoyable. The video below has some really great ideas!
5. Reward them for reading
If you really want to get your tween excited about reading, bribe them! Yes, I know, we want them to realize that reading IS the reward, but we can’t get them to that realization if they won’t even pick up a book. So a little bribery goes a long way.
Work together to come up with a reward system that works for both of you. Like, if you don’t want your kids to spend too much time in front of the TV or on their phone, maybe you can trade screen time for book time. For example, if they read for an hour throughout the week, they get an extra hour of TV or video game time during the weekend.
Whatever you decide, it’s important to tailor the reward to their interests, so they feel motivated to put in the effort to read. By linking reading with something positive, you can help your tween develop a love for books and encourage them to read more in the future.
6. Visit the library or bookstore together to pick out new books
Studies show that kids read more when they get to pick out their own books. So, one of the best ways to get tweens excited about reading is to take them to the library or bookstore with you (rather than going alone and picking stuff out for them). This not only exposes them to a wider range of topics but also gives them the freedom to choose books that they are genuinely interested in.
Encourage them to explore different genres such as mystery, adventure, science fiction, and even non-fiction. When they find something they like, join in and read along with them. It’s a great way to bond while promoting a love of reading. The more they are exposed to different types of books, the more likely they are to become engaged readers.
7. Help them start a book club with friends
One way to make reading more fun for them is to help them start a book club with their friends. By reading together with kids their own age, your tween can engage in meaningful discussions about the themes, plots, and characters of the books they read.
A book club can also help your tween build their social skills and foster closer friendships with like-minded peers who share their interests. Who knows, they may even discover a new favorite author through their book club discussions!
8. Listen to audiobooks during car rides
Another easy way to get tweens excited about reading is to make it more accessible and convenient for tweens. That’s where the power of audiobooks comes in. By listening to middle-grade books on car rides or while doing chores, tweens can immerse themselves in a story without feeling like they are sacrificing other activities.
Plus, audiobooks can be a great way to introduce tweens to new authors, genres, and characters that they might not have discovered otherwise. So, the next time your tween complains about not having enough time to read, suggest they pick up an audiobook and listen while they fold laundry or walk the dog. It just might spark a love of reading that will last a lifetime!
By the way, if you’re looking for a great place to find audiobooks, I recommend Audible through Amazon. Right now, you can try Audible Premium Plus and get up to two free audiobooks.
9. Choose books that are part of a series to keep them interested
Encouraging reading can be a daunting task, but sticking to a series is a great way to keep your tween engaged. Once they become invested in the characters and the story, it’s easier to get them to continue reading.
So, when looking for middle-grade books to recommend, consider suggesting a series. Harry Potter and Percy Jackson are just a few examples of popular book series that tweens have enjoyed.
You don’t have to limit yourself to fantasy and sci-fi – there are plenty of great middle-grade series in other genres as well. By offering a variety of choices, you will increase the likelihood of finding a series that will capture your tween’s interest and keep them reading.
Related: 10 Book Series Every Middle Grader Should Read at Least Once
10. Lead by example!
Last, but definitely not least, remember that you are your kids’ #1 role model. One great way is to lead by example and let them see you reading for pleasure. When your tweens see how much you enjoy reading, they may be more inspired to pick up a middle-grade book and discover the joys of reading for themselves.
Getting your tween excited about reading can be challenging, but it is definitely not impossible. You just need a combination of patience, creativity, and persistence. Try these 10 strategies above and you can foster a love for books that will last a lifetime. With time, your tween can become a voracious reader and reap the countless benefits that reading provides.
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