As parents, we all know the benefits of reading to our child when they are young. It helps our children to become early readers, broadens their imagination and curiosity, and better prepares them for entry into academic life. There is also the added benefit of the the bond it creates between parent and child.
By now you’re probably thinking, why would I read with my independent reader? Okay, relax. That is not what I’m suggesting. Of course your child needs to read on their own! They’re tweens and teenagers! What I am suggesting is that you read the same books. I started this process with my own daughter as soon as she began reading on her own. Why? I loved the connection we had when we read stories together when she was little, but there is more to it than that. How about establishing communication? Childhood years quickly turn into teenage years—the time when parents and their children don’t always seem to have a lot in common. But, what if you could at least communicate over the love of books? Where else might that communication lead to?
Imagine picking up and reading your teenager’s latest and greatest book. Next time you’re having a bite to eat or driving along in the car you casually mention something you read and say, “what did you think of that character? I loved how the author portrayed her/him in that scene where….” Suddenly the silence in the car ends and you are engaged in actual conversation. Not mom/dad versus teenage angst—but an actual exchange of ideas. The amazing thing is you’ll gain a whole new insight into your child. They’ll be eager to share what they liked or disliked. You can also get a gauge on where they stand on social issues in their own life. However, this is a process that needs to be started early on—and the sooner the better!
Really? You want me to read children and young adult books? Yes! I’m an avid reader. I love most genres. I have found over the years that if a book is engaging it doesn’t matter what age it caters to. I can find something of value or interest in it. You also don’t have to read every book. Ask your child for their recommendation. Let them know you value their opinion. Once you’ve finished the book, discuss it, and enjoy the experience of an intellectual exchange with your child on a level playing field.
I hope you found my opinion (and experience) on reading with your older child/teen of interest. I encourage you to implement it with your child today! Years from now, hopefully, you will have as many fond memories to look back on as I do.
Wishing you all the best,