How to motivate a middle school reader

Common Sense MediaIn the early grades, parents and teachers focus on teaching kids how to read. As kids get older, we hope they'll want to read. Reading for pleasure has lots of benefits. It builds vocabulary and improves reading comprehension, writing, spelling, grammar, and knowledge of the world. It also boosts test scores. But as we reported in our 2014 research brief on Children, Teens, and Reading, reading for fun drops off dramatically as children move into the tween and teen years. So it's crucial to find ways to encourage middle schoolers to read. One key is to tap into what your kids like to do, what they're interested in, and where they are in their emotional growth. At this age they're social, curious, beginning to pull way from their parents to forge their own identity, and fine-tuning their sense of humor. Thus, books that expand their view of the world or poke fun at the world they know (family, friends, puberty, school social dynamics) hold a lot of appeal, as do imagined worlds of science fiction and fantasy. Try these six tips to get middle schoolers reading.

Check out more of our selected reading news stories. Each weekday, we gather interesting news headlines about reading and early education. You can also sign up for our daily email service (or a weekly digest), to get the latest reading headlines sent directly to you.

"Writing is thinking on paper. " — William Zinsser