Tips for Reading Aloud With Preteens and Teens

— Reading Is Fundamental
Updated on Jul 26, 2007

Read aloud so preteens and teens can:

  • Continue to associate reading with warm, pleasant feelings; learn about words and language; build listening skills; expand vocabularies; talk about the characters, settings, and plot and relate them to their own lives; gain knowledge about a variety of topics; explore social and moral issues and behaviors; become more skilled independent readers; be motivated to read on their own; discover which authors and writing styles they like.
  • Stay connected to their families.
  • Establish a lifelong commitment to reading.

Choose books that preteens and teens like:

  • Preteens and teens are increasingly interested in local, national, and international current events. Read editorials and articles from the newspaper and news magazines.
  • Preteens and teens are defining what makes them unique individuals and learning how they fit in the world. Read novels, set in the past and in the present, with young characters who are experiencing and coping with the challenges of growing up.
  • Preteens and teens question authority. Read classic and modern novels that deal with "big" issues such as when the needs of a community are more important than those of individuals.
  • Preteens and teens are striving for independence, yet still want to be connected to their families. Read your favorite books and explain why they are important to you and read books that let you share laughter, a good mystery, an action-packed adventure, a science fiction journey.
  • Preteens and teens are gradually learning to think abstractly and understand the reasons behind views that differ from their own. Read books that challenge them to think "out of the box" and see the world beyond their daily experiences.
  • Preteens and teens are thinking about what they will do in their lives--college, careers, and more. Read books that introduce a wide range of opportunities and experiences.

Try these read-aloud tips:

  • Continue to read at regular times and spontaneously: "I just read a great quote about last night's game. Can I share it?"
  • Respect preteens and teens by letting them keep their views to themselves, when they wish. It's perfectly normal for this age group to want to maintain privacy about some things.
  • Vary the read-aloud menu from light, engaging items to longer, thought-provoking ones.
  • Model thinking about what you read by stopping to discuss a key point. "I never thought of it that way. What do you think?"
  • Stimulate discussion by asking open-ended questions that don't have right or wrong answers, but instead, invite thinking and learning: "How do you feel about...?" "What was your take on...?" "When did you realize she was going to...?"



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