All Info About Teen Reading

A companion blog to All Info About Teen Reading

Monday, February 05, 2007

Random Thoughts

Just a few thoughts I originally posted on a discontinued Teen Reading site...

When you start to think about the sheer number of books written especially for teens, it can be both exciting and daunting. The possibilities are exciting - lively new characters, page-turning adventures, heart-wrenching drama, breathtaking fantasy. It's the potential dilemmas that come from trying to find the right book for the right reader at the right age that can be daunting.

One common problem with teen books is the potential for inappropriate material. When a "teen" can be anywhere from 13 to 19, you're going to get a wide range of material targeting the teen demographic. And a book that would be wonderful for a 17-year-old senior might be inappropriate for his 14-year-old brother. Of course, maturity also comes into play so some 13-year-olds will be ready to read about situations that would disturb many 15-year-olds. If you think your teen is reading something inappropriate, the best reaction to such a situation is a thoughtful and considered reaction. Think about how you would deal with inappropriate content in a book before it becomes an issue.

Whether they're reading complex science-fiction or the latest Oprah pick, many teens gravitate towards books classified as adult fiction or non-fiction. Some students devour the classics as preparation for college or AP English exams. While I never picked up a Stephen King book until I was out of college, I've seen many a seventh-grader pick up Pet Sematary. There's nothing inherently wrong in this, but they could be missing out on some great books that relate directly to their lives. If a teen is used to delving into the classics, a young adult book can be a refreshing change of pace. You should be proud of your teen's reading ability, but encourage him not to discount books written especially for teens.

What happens when a favorite series is released over the course of several years? Harry Potter is perhaps the most notable example of this phenomenon. Just try and keep an older teen away from book six in the series she's been reading since she was ten. But what about A Series of Unfortunate Events? This series, while popular, has less "all-ages" appeal. The first book was written in 1999, and the final book in the series was released in late 2006. Will the high school student who first picked up the series in fourth grade be willing to carry a copy of The Penultimate Peril into homeroom? You should encourage your teen to read whatever interests her. Don't dismiss these books just because they might seem "young." In fact, you might want to give them a try for yourself.

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