7 SECRETS TO CREATE AVID TWEEN READERS
The reason we have 7 secrets to create avid tween readers is because recent statistics by the National Endowment for the Arts shows us that there is a rapid decline in reading skills of American children. As the author of Saltwater Taffy and a literacy advocate for children, I find this disturbing and sad. Something must be done!
Despite the popularity of Harry Potter and other children’s books that have flown off the shelves in recent years, the following statement should be a wake-up call for parents, teachers and our entire nation:
“Americans ages 15-24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV, and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time on reading.”
This statement is precisely the reason I have dedicated my career to the middle grade or ‘tween’ market so I can create more tween readers. I believe the habits we create in the formidable ‘tween’ years (ages o6-12) are the habits we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. Knowing that, let’s take a look at some secrets to create avid readers in our tween-age children!
- LEAD BY EXAMPLE: If we aren’t reading, how can we expect our tween readers to read? In the early years of life, children tend to mimic their parents behavior, so pick up a book and start reading today!
- TURN OFF THE TV: With all the unreality of reality television taking over the airwaves, not to mention the power of the DVR, it’s time to turn off the TV and strike a deal with our children. For every hour spent watching TV or playing video games, our tweens have to match the hour with an hour of reading.
- JOIN THE E-BOOK REVOLUTION: With virtually every title, including Saltwater Taffy, now available in the digital world of books, it can be fun for our children to download a new book and start reading it right away!
- READING ALOUD: Before we know it, our Tweens will be off to college and we’ll miss the times we used to spend together. Create memories that will last a lifetime by reading a book together aloud. Studies show that reading aloud creates confidence in children ages 7-13.
- STOCK THE SHELF: The more books we make available in our homes, the more likely our tweens will casually pick one up and start reading on their own.
- JOIN OR CREATE A TWEENAGE BOOK CLUB: When we read a book with our children in preparation for a Book Club meeting, we are helping them develop confidence, accountability as well as their ability to read with expression with character voices and gestures. Who knows, you might have a talented actor on your hands! Book Clubs also offer our children a sense of fellowship with other kids their age, which is an important skill to develop.
- BOOKMARK COLLECTION: Tweens love to collect all sorts of things. By creating a bookmark collection, the activity will secretly engage them into the joys of reading.
Eric “Uncle E” DelaBarre is the author of Saltwater Taffy, the award-wining middle-grade fiction novel endorsed by 12 Teachers of the Year. Copyright August 7, 2012. All Rights Reserved.