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 prepares them for entry into academic life. There is also the added benefit of the bond it creates between parent and child.

By now you are probably thinking, why would I read with my independent reader? Okay, relax. This is not what I’m suggesting. Of course, your child needs to read on their own. They are tweens and teenagers! What I am suggesting is that you read the same books.

I started this process with our 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 do not always seem to have a lot in common. However, what if you could at least communicate over the love of books? Where else might that communication lead?

Imagine picking up and reading your teenager’s latest and greatest book. Next time you are driving along in your car, you can casually mention something you read and say, “What did you think of the 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 a real exchange of ideas. The amazing thing is you will gain new insight into your child. They will 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–the earlier, the better!

I can already hear you. Really? You want me to read children and young adult books? Yes! I am an avid reader. I love most genres. I have found over the years that if a book is engaging it does not matter what age it caters to, I can appreciate something of value 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 intellectual exchange with your child on a level playing field.

DO YOU HAVE A READING TIP? Please leave a comment below.

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