6 Great Reasons To Read To Teens.

Solitary reading is a recent pastime.  Traditionally, a book was read to an audience.  Since people could speak they have gathered around fires exchanging stories.  Wonderful family traditions can be built on communal reading – I read a Victorian ghost story to the family every Christmas Eve.  We sit by the fire in a candle lit room and collectively enjoy the atmosphere.  It’s very Charles Dickens.

Poster promoting reading by Charles Dickens in...

Poster promoting reading by Charles Dickens in Nottingham (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Great literature wrestles with difficult subjects.  Sometimes when we try discussing a subject with our teens, it can sound like we are preaching and our well meant words fall on ear phone ears.  However, when we read to our teens, difficult subjects arise naturally and we can talk about them as part of our reading experience.  For instance, in Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Doctor Jekyll takes chemical substances which change both his appearance and his behaviour.  In effect, it ruins his life.  When we chat with our teens about their opinion of Doctor Jekyll, we usually find that they have already made up their minds about him and his actions.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde po...

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde poster. Converted losslessly from .tif to .png by uploader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Schools do not have time to cover a full novel because of their tight curriculum.    At this point, I expect parents are wondering, who does have time to read a full novel to a teenager especially as they could read it themselves.  To cover the last point first, many great novels are being overlooked because teenagers are not being introduced to them.  Many teenagers read novels from our literary heritage because they have to to pass exams.  This gives out the wrong message about these great works of fiction.  If we offer lounging on the sofa, having a piece of cake and being introduced to the world of Laurie Lee’s “Cider With Rosie”, without having to write an essay on it, it’s an appealing proposition.  As for the time factor, reading sessions can replace: watching programmes which nobody really wants to watch, time spent complaining of boredom, time spent squabbling or staring at a computer screen because there seems nothing more interesting to do.

Cider with Rosie. This rather overgrown cider ...

Cider with Rosie. This rather overgrown cider press is just off the B4070, where the path leads up to Wickridge Hill. It's only a quarter of a mile from Slad where Laurie Lee, of "Cider with Rosie" fame was a regular at the Woolpack Inn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reading to our teenagers aids bonding.  Before our children can read, most of us, read them bedtime stories at least.  The beaming child’s face gives us the sense of joy which only parenting can release. The child gets to a certain reading stage though and we feel that we no longer need to read to them.  Often, parents and teenagers can seem to grow apart because although they share a home, they live in different worlds.  Reading to our teenagers gives us something to share with them, therefore something to discuss.  I love Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, my teenage son doesn’t.  We have stimulating arguments about it.  It’s better than quarrelling over the fact that he hasn’t put his dirty socks in the wash.

Promotional photo of Boris Karloff from The Br...

Promotional photo of Boris Karloff from The Bride of Frankenstein as Frankenstein's monster. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reading to our teens balances the relationship between child and parent as it empowers them to read to us.  If we read to them, after a while they will choose books, stories etc to read to us. It gives them self esteem and therefore balances the teenager/parent struggle.  Teenagers who have a sense of control in their lives are easier to live with.  Having their parents listening to their choice of literature gives them a feeling of autonomy.

Teenagers are the adults of the future and we need them to embrace our great literary heritage.  We need them to read to their future children.  By reading to our teens we are promoting a love and understanding of literature.  We are sending out the message “do as I do, not as I say.”

Happy reading.


Filed under Education, Parenting

13 responses to “6 Great Reasons To Read To Teens.

  1. Some really prime blog posts on this website , saved to bookmarks .

  2. I agree – and think it is so sad that many parents do not even read to their young children let alone their teens. It’s a great idea and good to see you putting it in heads who may never even think of it! Reading to teens – whatever next! 😉

    • So glad that you are back. Thanks for the comment. If only people who don’t read to their children could realise how much bonding is done over a shared text.


  3. My grandmother used to read to me when I was little and I later returned the favour when I had learned how to read. The times we spent together over books are among the happiest of my life. What a wonderful post and excellent idea.

    • What a lovely story. I honestly wish that more adults realised how important reading to children and teenagers is. I imagine you are filled with a warm glow when you think of your grandmother. Like your grandmother and yourself, Will often reads to me and enjoys it. It is such a lovely way to bond with others.

    • You will be happy to know that you have inspired me to have a web site especially for Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow – I am working on it now. I hope the angel of technology is looking down and smiling on me. Actually, I’m not sure, I’ve already lost stuff. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

      • that’s great news – not the bit about losing stuff – I found it was too complicated to have just one site under my pen name that was supposed to cater for all the different things I do. Having a site dedicated to my pet/darling/toothy/vampy girl Willow means that the real Willow will one day be able to read the blog posts, too…and get very big headed! Do let me have the site name, when it’s up and running. Yay!

      • Have you named Willow after a little girl? That’s funny because Will is the muse for Will Blyton – which you have probably already guessed. I’m not sure I’m getting the look I’m going for at the moment. I’m looking for your new piece on Willow and can’t find the message – can you remind me please? Thanks.

      • Oh, I haven’t had a chance to translate it, yet. Too much urgent work at the moment. It’s published online in German on Vampirgeschichten which is at http://www.my-shortstory.de, a really good German language site for publishing. As I’m bilingual, I’ve been trying to get German people interested in Willow the vampire. Yes, she was named after a real girl, albeit a much younger Willow (she’s only 6).

      • Sorry I got the wrong end of the stick over the story. That’s lovely about Willow, I bet she was thrilled.

      • Her mum wants to buy the book for Willow and all her friends, when W. is old enough to read it:)

      • That is so lovely. It must be so nice having a book named after you. Willow is such a beautiful name anyway.

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