Tips for Tween and Teen Readers: Part 1

“Sana mahawa ang anak ko sa anak mo.”

That comment usually comes after I tell a mommy friend that my kids (now tweens) read the entire Harry Potter series when they were quite young. But then they’d ask: don’t you make the kids read fact books too?  Is it OK if they keep reading the same books over and over again?

That reminds me of a complaint I once made to my paediatrician:  “My child asks for the same ulam day in and day out!”  I was pleasantly surprised by her answer:  “As long as it gets your child eating well, give him his favourite meal as often as he wants.  Magsasawa din yan.”  That’s exactly the same attitude I take to books:  as long as the book or the series keeps your child reading (experts recommend 35 minutes a day), let them stick to it.  Then help them find something they’d like just as well.

When my eldest listed her favorite series for their school paper at the end of fourth grade, I realized they were all fantasy franchises: Percy Jackson, Pendragon, Artemis Fowl, The Magic Thief, Inkheart, Howl’s Moving Castle. But guess what she read for a whole week the following summer?  The Chicken Soup for the Soul series.  (From fantasy to senti!)  And then she discovered Nancy Drew, which is what I read every day for a time in grade school.  The key is to make sure there are a lot of good books – classics as well as newer titles – on your bookshelves for the kids to discover.

If your child keeps asking for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, go and get it for him.  But make an effort to find similar books that you think he’s enjoy as well…. Which leads me to one of my favourite tips: use Amazon.com! Click the title of your child’s current favourite and go through “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought”.  For “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck”, the “Also Bought” list includes: “Big Nate”, “I Funny”, the latest Rick Riordan book, and the Guinness Book of World Records 2014.

Here’s an example for Howl’s Moving Castle:

Also LikedArmed with this knowledge, you can go to your favorite bookstore and point out these “same genre” titles to your child.  He or she will be pleasantly surprised that good old mom and dad can pick out “cool” stuff, too!

Up next:  Our top picks for tweens and teens who *don’t* like to read!

About the author: Vanessa Bicomong is happy to be a “personal shopper” for reluctant readers.  Visit her at The Learning Library!

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