Get teenagers reading this summer

Why did paediatric admissions to accident and emergency departments plummet on the weekends that each new Harry Potter book was released?  A whole cohort of children were sitting reading and not getting hurt in typical summer mishaps!

Of course, summer days should not be devoted exclusively to reading, there are other things in life. However, they allow the opportunity to read a good book without the pressures of the school day, homework and the sometime relentless activity of the school term.

During August, anything which isn’t school becomes pathologically irresistible for your average teen, but research has shown some noteworthy pointers to keep them reading.

A summer book or two reduces the ‘summer slide’ this is the skills and knowledge wither over the long summer holiday. Karen Balsen and Douglas Moore conclude in their research that, “having year-round access to a wide range of interesting reading material and other study materials helps narrow achievement gaps and prevent summer reading loss.” Teenage readers probably don’t have research in mind, but rather choose a book for a good story or cool title, most likely influenced by the front (or back) cover.


Here are a few suggestions to get teenagers into reading.

Find books that link films or tv programmes with books; for example the Twilight series, Gerald Durrell books about his time on Corfu, the Alex Rider series or Agatha Christie mysteries.

Find Young Adult books in the library and bookshops. They may not be of interest to parents but they are fascinating to teenagers as they deal with issues that are specific and often difficult to talk about. ‘Dear Martin by Nic Stone or The Girl in the Broken Mirror by Savita Kalhan are excellent examples of this genre.

Enjoyment and enthusiasm can be transferred from the spoken word to the written word so download audio books and get listening! Car journeys, time on the beach, lounging by the pool are great moments for plugging in the earphones and becoming absorbed in the story.  Try to encourage reading after listening or even reading along simultaneously.

Read with your teenager, or just ahead, have copies of the books to hand so you can discuss the narrative.  It maybe enlightening for you and your offspring!

Give your teenager a book token to go and buy books of their choosing. A bit of independence and ownership adds to commitment.


Finally, here is a list of useful websites which provide book lists of books for all ages.

Love Reading-

The Guardian –

Read Brightly –

Waterstones –


Have a happy reading summer.

Mrs Philippa Coates, Head of English, Cambridge International School


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