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Studies conducted by the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) have revealed that, despite being an international leader among the G8Â industrializedÂ nations, Canada has a concerning literacy deficit. CCLâ€™s report, State of Learning in Canada: No Time for ComplacencyÂ indicated â€œthat more than 48% of all Canadian adults (those over the age of 16) had low prose literacy skills, meaning that they have difficulty reading, understanding and functioning effectively with written material.â€Â (The Future of Literacy in Canadaâ€™s Largest Cities, Canadian Council on Learning, 2010). Â
Â That said – as educators, parents and role models, it is imperative that we are mindful and active in inspiring, influencing, and supporting young people to read. Below are some simple ways to get your teen reading. Â Â
Be a good role model. Show your son/daughter the joy you receive from reading by regularly discussing your current favorites and planned reads. Recall all of the books you have read, especially in high school, and reference how books have influenced the way you see and understand the world.
Appeal to the techie. Electronic readers are cool, transportable, and hold 1000s of books. Reading on the internet is also very valuable and engaging for teens.
Be a good listener. Ask your son or daughter to talk about the books being read and REALLY listen to thoughts and impressions. Engaging in this kind of conversation gives life to the stories and allows teens to realize that the information in books extends far beyond the pages.
Provide choice and opportunity. Be sure you have a variety of fiction and non-fiction reading material around your home and allow your son/daughter to be part of the decision making process. â€œWhat magazine should we subscribe to this year?â€
Stock Up! There are several good reference and purchasing websites (Goodreads.com, teenreads.com), but hereâ€™s quick list to get you startedâ€¦
- The Hunger Games Trilogy (Suzanne Collins)
- The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)
- Wonder (R.J.Palacio)
- Every Day (David Levithan)
- The Raven Boys (Maggie Stiefvater)
- Enderâ€™s Game (Orson Scott Card)
- Game Changer (Margaret Peterson Haddix)
- Eleanor & Park (Rainbow Rowell)
- Avatar â€“ Graphic Novel Series (Gene Luen Yang)
- MaddAddam (Margaret Atwood)
Start a Parent-Teen Book Club. This is a great way to spend time with your teenage children and your friends. How often is it that you co-host a get-together with your teenager? Spending time planning and preparing snacks creates a chance to talk about novels and get to know your teenâ€™s friends and parents.
Play audio books in the car. The more you engage your teen with stories, the more reading will become a natural part of his/her lifestyle. On the car ride to school and work, alternate choices between your teens and yourself.
Get involved with the Toronto Public Library. The TPL has an incredible Program Series for all ages including festivals, Canadian author series, volunteer opportunities, art exhibits, homework help, unique courses, and speaker sessions. The Young Voices Magazine is a teen written and designed publication that accepts seasonal submissions (the next deadline is April 5, 2014) offering an exciting opportunity for young adults to write, read and be published.
For more tips and ideas on how to inspire your son or daughter to read, contact Ruth Rumackâ€™s Learning Space at 416.925.1225 or visit www.ruthrumack.com.