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How To Get Your Child To Read More

Now, we all know when your teenager doesn't have the motivation to do something. It is hard to convince them otherwise.

Whether it is learning a new language, hobby, or getting a Saturday job.

But it's even tougher to get your child to pick up a book and read it. Especially when it is a book they are reading for class.

That is why it is so important to remember:

Top tips when picking a book for your child

  • Find out what genre they might like

Now sometimes, you can match this genre with what they like watching - do they like watching re-runs of Twilight? If so, they might like the Gothic genre.

  • If they do not like a book - change it!

Now, you might argue this point and say, well if they read a book they have to read this book until the very end, even if they don't like it.

Now usually, I would agree, but the book they choose to read for leisure and their Macbeth class book that they have to read is different as their class book.

As they must read their class book as part of their school curriculum, which requires discipline to read from the beginning to the end.

But their book for leisure should be their choice and they should be in the driver's seat - Therefore, you are training them to enjoy a book at their own pace.

It should not be a prison sentence and instead, it should be a joyful experience to read and explore different books, it is like a new pair of shoes, it's not one size that fits all.

If you give them that freedom to choose their book no matter how long it may take. You will see that they will find their feet in confidently reading at their own time without your supervision or reminders.

  • Make it a consistent habit

You need to make reading become part of your child's routine. The more they do it. The more they will get used to it. Even, if they do not enjoy the process of reading if they practice this skill for a small amount of time in the day it will become a habit.

Just like brushing your teeth or washing the dishes. Some of you may HATE washing the dishes with a passion but if you don't wash the dishes:

- Our dishes and kitchen will stink.

- You will attract flies and others pests

- You will have nothing to eat your food on.

And this is similar to reading because if we don't read:

- They would not learn new vocabulary

- Their reading, writing, and speaking would not improve

- Your child's brain will turn into mush and they cannot improve their cognitive thinking.

  • You - set the example

If you want your child to read, you need to lead the way and read a good book too. Even if it is a newspaper, your child needs to see that you are reading daily.

We all work and may not have time, but choose a particular time in the day that is the best time to read for you, whether it is during the commute to work, before bedtime, or in the bath.

  • Start with an audio book first

Some might frown at the idea of listening to an audiobook instead of reading it, but it is great when you do not have much time or if you want to test out a book before you purchase.

It is very interactive and this can also be done together before while you are on the train, before bedtime or if you having a quiet hour at home.

Just make sure this is one of the ways and not the only way to explore different books, the key goal is to get them to read a hardcopy or a kindle version of the book.

  • Pick a book together

This is a great way to communicate with your child on a book that you both enjoy. If you like the same genre or you like reading plays - this is great for the family because each person can pick a character or multiple characters.

Books I Recommend For You And Your Child

(KS3) 11 - 13 years old

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Genre: Fantasy

Now this book is one of the most inspiring stories I have read when it comes to a children's novel.

Patrick Ness successfully communicates a hard-hitting subject by using children's fantasy and fairy tales which is very easy to digest.

And because it is based on a mature/ global issue, it is very relatable to not only young teens but adults too.

A very easy to absorb read, so great for young children from the youngest of 10 - 13 years old.

I read this book in one month so it so really takes you on an enchanting yet emotional journey of this young boy Connor.

They have also got a movie based on the book but I would recommend reading the book first as it uses a lot of extended metaphors (figurative language) that is visually exciting. So when you do see the movie you can understand why it is so visually striking as it is cleverly written in this way.

Trash by Andy Mulligan

Genre: Adventure/Crime

This novel is great for young people who like to work out a crime to a story. This story is based in a place in South India and focuses on a group of boys that work on a trash site and find this mysterious wallet.

Their mission to find the person that owns this wallet. This story is interesting because it includes; different narrative voices from some of the chapters so you can get t know the characters and their involvement in this investigation.

Very well written and it will keep your child on their toes.

My Sister Lives On The Mantlepiece by Annabel Pitcher

Genre: Realist Fiction/Drama

This novel has a similar subject to A Monster Calls but it is funnier. This is ironic as it is about a boy who loses their sister and their sister is cremated and put in an urn.

The narration is cleverly written and the story has layers of drama that are slowly unraveled in the story to how his sister died.

When I have recommended this book to my students, even the most reluctant reader can't put it down and has read the book from the beginning to the end.

The Other Side Of Truth by Beverly Naidoo

Genre: War/Drama

This is a thought-provoking story about a young girl and her brother who have to flee from Nigeria after their mother is killed during a failed assassination by their outspoken political father.

They end up in London alone and nowhere the have to face the police, social services, and school bullies.

This is a story that is such a global issue that young people might be interested in reading more about the issues that refugees have to face.

(KS4) 14 years old and over

Noughts And Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Genre: Romance/Action

This is one of the most influential books I have read for young people so far.

This reverts the whole idea of racism by having African people colonising Europe and European's as slaves set in 21st century Britain.

It is a series of small stories and based on a romance that is similar to the star crossed lovers in Romeo and Juliet but mostly set on the whole issue about Racism.

If your child is not an avid reader, this awakens their senses and they will not out this book down.

They have also got a series on BBC that you can take a look at based on the novel.

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

Genre: Drama

This is a story that your child has seen mostly in America about police brutality against black people and it focuses on a 16-year-old girl from a poor background, that witnesses her friend get shot by the police unlawfully.

This is based on the movie and is written as if you are watching a movie so it is engaging and so much excitement in the story.

Many of my older students 15 - 16-year-old love this story because it is very edgy and good for the current issue of Police brutality

Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah

Genre: War/Drama

This novel is similar to 'The Other Side Of Truth' as it is an about 14-year-old refugee from Ethiopia and Eritrea and he escapes from a violent war.

They also have a play version of this which would be great a read as a family also.

The Alchemist by Paul Coelho

Genre: Self Help Motivation

This book is usually for adults so you can also enjoy this! I have also found my older students 15 + love this story too.

It takes you on an enchanting journey of this man who is trying to find the meaning of life.

If you want to engage your mature teen in a good book and you would like something to read for yourself, this is the right book for you!

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Genre: Autobiography

This is another book for you too that you could read with your child.

This book is very conversational and an interesting read from start to finish. It is quite a large book so you don't have to worry about getting through it too quickly.

But it is so enjoyable and finding out more about Michelle's background and how she got to become the first lady of the United States is inspiring for any girl - young or old!

Plays you can read as a family

If you enjoy or you would like to start reading as a family, here are a selection of plays that you can start exploring together:

22 Comedy ten minute plays for teens and young adults

A Raisin In The Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah (play version)


So to conclude, when picking a book for your child always remember to:

  • Find out what genre they might like

  • If they do not like a book - change it!

  • Make it a consistent habit

  • You - set the example

  • Start with an audio book first

  • Pick a book together

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Best Wishes,

Natalie Chama

English Tutor

Chama Tuition

'Reach your full potential with confidence'


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