Reading and writing are essential skills that students mostly learn from school. Unfortunately, because of this, many students only associate it with study environment, homework, and essays which gives it a negative connotation. If you hang around as many youngsters as I do, you’ll notice that few teens get as excited about reading a book as they would about watching a show on Netflix or going to the movies.
It’s crucial to not just force young people to read and write through tedious assignments. As an educator, you should actually get them to fall in love with the art and craft. Without that love, the students will never read again when they aren’t forced to.
Here are a few proven ideas that can help your students or teens fall in love with reading and writing. If you are a student yourself and you struggle with written assignments at college, these great tips will definitely help you write and read with more ease and joy.
Read and write fanfiction
Fanfiction is widely known to attract teens towards reading and writing. Creating fanfiction is one of the easiest ways to get a teen started with writing because they can use their favorite characters from books, movies, comics, and TV shows in their stories. Teenagers are especially big fans of movie characters and celebrities, so why not to introduce these figures to their stories?. Perhaps they’re really into the Kanye and Taylor Swift drama, or maybe they love Marvel movies. Even if they spend their day following YouTube celebrities or watching basketball matches, these obsessions can be used as a great material for creative writing. Teens have a lot more fun with reading and writing when it’s about people they care about.
There are quite a few places to get into fanfiction. Many teens gravitate to the more visual focused site Commaful. They have a dedicated fanfiction section that many teens use to find their interests. Archive of Our Own is the most well-known fanfiction community and has a ton more fandoms. If you have a more specific fandom, you’ll likely be able to find it there.
Try graphic novels
Graphic novels are a great way to lure teens towards reading all kinds of stories. Graphic novels utilize a mixture of text and illustrations, which is a fantastic treat for a generation that needs visual stimulation. Many graphic novels are also edgier and touch on easy-to-digest, but they nevertheless cover complex and relevant issues to teens. This makes the stories more interesting to read. Between graphic novels and comics, there is something for everyone, from funny works to intense action. There are also many graphic novels and comics that feature well-known heroes and characters.
If you have a small budget to put into it, you can have your teen write a comic, pay somebody to illustrate it into a graphic novel, and then print a physical book for your students/kids to hold in their hands. It can also be a nice hand-made present for your friend who’s crazy about comics!
Read the book and then watch the movie
Teens love movies! An easy way to get young people excited about reading a book is to promise a trip to the theater (or to the couch) to watch the movie version. The good news is that many movies are adapted from books these days. A quick skim at new releases will pull up some great adapted books. IMDB also has a list of great movies adapted from books as well.
Read and write about topics you care about
A big complaint I get when talking to teens about reading is that they can’t relate to the books and characters they are forced to read. Romeo and Juliet talk in riddles and don’t behave like any teen today would (or so they think). Holden Caulfield, though interesting, isn’t very relatable either. Then, shortly after reading these unrelatable stories, the students are then forced to write essays on them. Doesn’t sound like fun at all!
Have the teens read whatever they want (try something from the young adult genre) and about whatever topic they want. Have them write about things they actually care about. Teens have something or someone that they talk non-stop about. Have them write about that.
Listen to great audiobooks
Listening to audiobooks is very popular these days. You can listen to them on your way to school, lunch break, or long drives.We all love listening to music, and audiobooks are similar to music in many ways. Not only you can decide when and where to listen to a book, but it is also up to you to pick the book you like. Audiobooks are not boring or monotonous — many narrators do fun voices and create special effects (what can be better than the classic narration of Harry Potter by Stephen Fry?).
Creating a positive environment for teens is essential to make them excited in both reading and writing. It can be very challenging to start with these activities, but by using these creative techniques, you’ll be able to help your teens fall in love with reading and writing.
Author: Hayley Zelda – Founder of Zelda Media Group