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Kids and teens should read and write even when they are out of school. Why is this so important?

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Modeling Good Reading Habits With Teens


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Modeling Good Reading Habits With Teens

Grades 6 – 12

Mary Patroulis

Manlius, New York


National Council of Teachers of English

Tip Topic Tips for Teaching Reading
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Why Use This Tip

What To Do


Why Use This Tip

By modeling good reading habits for your teen, you will be doing something good for both of you. Fortunately, there are many interesting things you can do to set a positive example for the teen in your life. If you are willing alter your daily activities just a little, such as by cutting out some television watching each day or scheduling regular time to visit the library, you will be well on your way to establishing a routine to help you both become more regular readers.

Modeling good reading habits can be challenging, though, if you don't make a plan you are willing and able to stick to. Check out the following innovative ways to get both of you reading.

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What To Do

  • Read something together. Check out two copies of the same book from the library. Or give each other your favorite books, and trade off reading them. Organize a reading schedule, and time to discuss what you've been reading. Try talking about books spontaneously, too, such as on the way to sports practice, while walking the dog, or during meals.


  • Schedule sustained reading time for you and your teen. Make reading a regularly scheduled part of every day, a time when you both do nothing but read, such as right after dinner or just before bedtime.


  • Read out loud-perhaps even with the whole family or a group of friends. Even proficient and self-motivated readers will enjoy reading of scary tales around a campfire. Or try gathering a group and assign parts for a play. You might read aloud childhood favorites at bedtime, or encourage your teen to read aloud to a younger sibling during car trips. Check out Explore Your Reading Self for activity ideas.


  • Read to someone else. Volunteer together to read with children at a school, hospital, or library. You might instead read to seniors at a long-term care facility.


  • Keep a reading journal or Reading Record Chart to keep track of what you have both read.


  • Organize a book club for adults and teens. Visit publisher websites for discussion questions for your meetings.


  • Keep reading materials in handy places. Your teen will be more likely to read spontaneously if you strategically place reading materials on the coffee table, in the bathroom, in the car, or next to the morning cereal bowl. Tuck books into purses and backpacks, so that reading becomes an integral part of a typical day.


  • Show your teen how reading is related to other activities. Are you going on a trip? Choose some books that will teach you about the area where you will be traveling, or read a novel set in that region. Do you have a pet? Read a book about pet training, or choose a novel about the trials and joys of pet ownership.


  • Visit bookstores and libraries regularly. On a weekend, drop by the bookstore, grab a few books, and sit down to a hot chocolate together. Or go to the library for your sustained reading time. You can model good reading habits just by going where other people go to browse and read.


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