Here Is My Confession
My daughter grew up in front of a television.
Knowing full well that experts recommend no more than three hours per day, we exceeded that golden number by an order of magnitude.
It started with Barney, then progressed to Teletubbies and ended with The Thundermans and Henry Danger. At some point the Disney and Nickelodeon channels with their endless repeats grew to bore her.
This was a good thing as I was scheming to wean her off television.
I grew up loving books and reading, so naturally I started hatching plans.
Why Is Reading Good for Your Child?
- Reading provides an outlet for you child’s pent-up frustrations. It takes their minds off their troubles.
- It expands memory capacity. For every character and plot twist, the brain stores information, meaning new synapses are formed.
- Their vocabulary gets expanded.
- It improves their analytic skills.
- Their writing skills are improved.
Back to the Plan
The books we bought her got relatively little attention. I tried everything: rewards, threats, taking away the distracting cell phone (which she hated me for), and installing curfew software on the phone, all to no avail.
In my opinion playing games is a much better past time than watching TV, so I started to research games that pre-teenage girls could play. We bought her Minecraft on the XBOX. Of course she did not know how to play Minecraft, so to YouTube we turned for learning.
And here she encountered the hallowed teachings of Stampy Longnose, Aphmau and Dan TDM. These professionals are game players second, entertainers first, so in the end we found her watching YouTube videos on people playing Minecraft longer than she was actually spending playing the game.
Back to Square One
From a young age she loved it when we read to her at bedtime, so we knew she liked stories, especially sci-fi and fantasy. Unfortunately she never made the effort to really get into a novel and finish it.
Sinking one’s teeth into any book takes a bit of effort. While the foundation of the story is being built, things aren’t quite as interesting as when the story really gets going. The first pages of any story requires an upfront investment before the dividends start to pay out. To be able to get these initial parts poured into one’s ear would seem to be advantageous.
My Eventual Plan
I had recently completed the awesome Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan on Audible and knew she would love the story to bits. To help her fall asleep at night, we would play the book on her cell with the sleep timer set to 60 minutes. Initially she would get through about 5 minutes of Tim Gerard Reynolds‘ superb narration before drifting off to sleep, but as the story grew more interesting, she would listen longer. She now willingly went to bed earlier to listen to her audiobook, looking forward to continuing Royce and Hadrian’s exploits.
And this is where my evil plan kicks in:
Don’t buy the next book in the series on audio.
If she was hooked by the first book, she would make the effort to read the next books. And it worked. When she has finished that, and she loved the series, we would buy the first book as well. Eventually she would come back to read it.
Great Book Series To Get Your Teenager Hooked On Reading
- Riyria Chronicles – Michael J Sullivan
- Magic 2.0 – Scott Meyer
- The Arinthian Line – Sever Bronny
- The Hunger Games
- Divergent Series
- The Star Shard Chronicles
- Jasper Dent Series
- Skulduggery Pleasant Series