“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”
—J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
If you’re here, it’s probably because you love books as much as I do. And perhaps, like me, you’re also a huge supporter of making books accessible to kids and teens. Which brings to mind what an exciting month October is for YA lit fans, because it includes Teen Read Week™—a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It began in 1998 and is held annually during the third week of October. Celebrated by librarians, educators, and booksellers, its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users. “Turn Dreams Into Reality @ Your Library” is the theme for Teen Read Week 2014, which takes place from October 12th to the 18th.
Reading is an important skill that we should encourage our children to master. A person who can read, and read well, is more likely to:
- graduate from college;
- get a higher paying job;
- experience the joys of learning new things;
- enjoy the stress-reducing entertainment of a good book.
However, in this day and age, with so many portable entertainment and communication options available, books can be overlooked, especially by the teens and preteens of this digital generation.
So, how do we, as parents, motivate this age group to pick up a book instead of checking out their iPhone? While it can be harder to turn a teen on to reading than say, a 3-year-old who loves the attention you give when you read him/her a book, it is not impossible. Check out these tried and true tactics you can use to turn your teen into an avid reader.
As a parent, I was truly lucky—my younger son loved being read aloud to and we continued the practice until he was at least eleven years old. To this day, he is an avid reader! Whenever he was assigned a book to read for school, I always read the same book too, so that we could discuss it over dinner. Over the years I read some terrific YA books and still enjoy reading them today. My son is now 23 and I’m happy to report, he has a very nice home library with nearly 100 books in it, including some of his favorite children’s picture books. And he still reads!
In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, I’d love to know what your favorite YA book is and why it made an impression on you. Better yet, go get your teen and encourage them share in the comments what their favorite book is and why.
For a little inspiration, click on any of the links below.
- Best of the Best
- Alex Awards
- Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults
- Best Fiction for Young Adults
- Margaret A. Edwards Award
- Fabulous Films for Young Adults
- Great Graphic Novels for Teens
- Morris Award
- Nonfiction for Young Adults Award
- Michael L. Printz Award (YALSA)
- Odyssey Award
- Outstanding Books for the College Bound
- Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults
- Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
- Readers’ Choice
- Teens’ Top Ten (YALSA)