Keepin’ those Teens Reading!

Seventeen hours is a long time to be driving, especially straight through states like Alabama and Louisiana in the middle of July. It is hot, really hot. Though all the Southern states have their charm and beauty, from the highway, anyway, there’s not much to see.george

Somehow, our drive earlier this week from Asheville, NC to Houston, TX (all in a single day, no joke) was manageable. I bet you can guess why. Yep, we read.

Every summer, the hubs and I attempt to read at least one book aloud to one another. Usually this happens while one of us is behind the wheel, the other in the front passenger seat. It makes the scorching heat and the miles of road an afterthought – great writing is powerful stuff.

I scooped up a copy of Free Days with George by Colin Campbell while in downtown Asheville on one of our first days there. We managed to consume it in our two weeks in the mountains. So, oveI was forced to hit Malaprop’s again (which means absolutely nothing. When in Asheville, I’m in that store several times a week), and left with A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

While we’re not quite finished with it, we’re both rather tickled with ourselves to have read aloud (almost) two books to each other this summer.

What I wasn’t quite expecting, however, was this: the teenage son is now interested in what we’ve read.

You see, as we prepared dinner last night, some strand of our conversation allowed the hubs and me to recall a piece of the story from Free Days with George. I’m convinced that because we both read it, our explaining this snippet to our son together made the book all the more interesting and appealing in his eyes. He said, “Huh. I might have to read it. But if I do, your next book has to be Fight Club.”fight

Bless him. My one-time reluctant reader now, at 17, reads for pleasure. What’s more, he read Fight Club at the recommendation of his English teacher. I mean. (Mental note: let his kindergarten teacher know that everything did, as she promised, all work out. Oh, how hard she worked on this child. And oh, how I have learned so much about readers in the ensuing years.)

As parents, it can be almost painful to watch our ravenous readers in elementary school transform into teens who only read when a book is assigned for class. It’s true: they’re busy, and just because they don’t read for pleasure much does not necessarily mean they won’t emerge as adults who read. But still, many of us are hoping for a little book-action out of our mini-adults. There are lots of ways to encourage teens to read, of course. But, last night, I stumbled upon a big one, an obvious one, an easy one. Talk about what you’re reading. Have conversations about the stories in your life. Be willing to share, and be willing to read what they’re reading.

Will we like Fight Club? I don’t know. Will we read it? Absolutely. I’ll take any opportunity to connect with my teen; I always welcome something new to read; and I’ll go down fighting to encourage him (and the hubs) to . . .

Keep Reading,

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Contact me at fplweb (at) frontporchlibrarian dot com

2 Comments

  1. Mary, I loved reading this today as Dan and I just completed 14 hours in the car driving from Telluride back to Texas (not in one day). We too, read aloud during the journey and it has been new found fun for us! By Honor Bound is our book of choice and one your now 17 year old (how is that possible?) might enjoy. It tells the heroic stories of two living Medal of Honor winners, Tom Norris and Mike Thornton. We met Tom Norris rafting through the Grand Canyon several years ago. So inspiring. Reading aloud knows no age limit. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I love a great recommendation – thank you! I love it, too, that you took the time to read my blog – means so much! I’ll look for this next time I’m at the library.

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