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When (my) teens read

November 4, 2009

Yesterday as I was shelving books at the Dupont Branch, I found a copy of Halo: the Ghosts of Onyx by Eric Nylund, which I set aside to check out for my 13-year-old son, who is a huge fan of the Halo video games.   It came as no surprise that my bright, creative, ADD-riddled son who performs poorly in school picked the book up and read the first 35 pages within a few minutes.

My friend Christi was telling me about a book she’s been reading: NurtureShock : new thinking about children.  She is a children’s librarian and she told me about some particularly interesting chapters which describe why teens rebel, why they lie about it, and why they are bored all the time.  This book is definitely on my parenting reading list now!

Then today I found an interesting blog post from Stephen’s Lighthouse with twelve reasons people read:

Why Do People Read?

I also think we need a better discussion on why people read. It seems basic but do we really understand why people read? Here’s my modest unranked list of twelve reasons off the top of my small noggin (add to it in the comments):

1. To learn
2. To engage in hearing other’s opinions (to agree or disagree or just to understand and be empathetic)
3. To develop more knowledge about myself and develop as a whole person
4. To be entertained and laugh, to engage and interact
5. To address boredom and the inexorable progress of time
6. To research and keep up-to-date
7. To participate well in civil society (everything from news to voting)
8. To be informed (and maybe smarter)
9. To understand others (individually and culturally)
10. To escape our day-to-day lives
11. To stimulate the imagination and be inspired
12. To write and communicate better through reading others
13. To teach
14. To have something to talk about
15. To connect with like-minded people

My son was complaining the other day about how bored he was, so I’ve been trying to find ways to engage him.  He’s also recently become intensely interested in classical music, mostly because that’s the elective they’re studying this quarter at school.  Bless his little heart.  He’s bored out of his mind, but he fascinates me when he really gets into a subject.

I’m going to keep the Halo books coming, and when he’s done with those, we’ll find some more equally captivating books to read.  How do you engage your teen(s)?

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