As a mother of a teenage boy I am only too aware of how hard it can be to keep your teens interested in reading. With my son’s social life ever expanding, the increasing demand from his extra-curricular activities and the constant attachment to his mobile phone, finding time to keep him engaged with books can be a tricky thing to balance.
Another thing we have noticed since my son began to go to secondary school is the increasing pressure he is under from his school work and the toll that this takes on his energy levels and his ability to concentrate at the end of the day.
Yet I passionately believe that we need to keep our teens reading. No matter what other demands they have on their time, books must be part of their relaxation, not just what they turn to to complete an essay.
The reasons for this are many – reading is said to be as relaxing as meditation – and goodness only knows, with the pressure on our teens nowadays, they really need calm in their lives as much as possible! Reading takes our full concentration – it is impossible to multi-task whilst reading, unlike when we are watching the TV, or scrolling through social media – or both!
It also helps sleep – insomnia is at almost epidemic proportions amongst our young people and a big factor in this is too much screen time during the evening and the night. We need to keep encouraging our teens to read at bedtime – I think it’s just as an important part of their routine as when they were toddlers.
So, you see, reading is a superpower we can keep developing in our teens which will help them in so many ways in their lives both now and for the future.
One of my son’s favourite types of book is the graphic novel. He has had a love of comic books for a few years. They are action-packed adventures that have never been more popular than today with the rise of Marvel and DC movies.
My son is also a talented artist and for him the graphic novels not only feeds his imagination from the story itself, but grows his creativity through the illustrations.
It’s easy to feel that our teens should advance in their reading and we might want to put them under pressure as parents to be reading a certain standard of literature. But our kids need to be able to relax, feed the left side of their brains as well as the right, and, ultimately any kind of engagement with books is a good thing!