An article that explains to parents the benefit of getting their teens to read as well as why they should begin reading to their children at a young age.
Young adult books have become an increasingly popular literary category to read amongst the young and the young at heart, worldwide. Over the past 10 years specifically, books of this type have been in high demand as series and novels have been made into blockbuster films. The list is extensive, with titles such as: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Twilight, Hugo, Coraline, and recently, The Hunger Games. What is great about a movie adaptation is that before seeing the film, fans will read and reread a beloved novel, and if it happens to have books that follow in succession, most often those books will be veraciously consumed as well. Besides the entertainment value provided, here are a few ways that Young Adult books have a positive effect in the lives of the youth today
1) Teens can relate to the characters.
Some may wonder why the sudden fanfare, but these stories are relevant to an age group that is on a significant border between childhood and adulthood. In a period of life that is teeming with insecurity, confusion, and feelings of misunderstanding, it is extremely important to realize that every person has felt these emotions at some point. As it is with every person, once one sees that they are not the only one struggling with a certain adversity the overcoming of it becomes easier. The characters portrayed, whether they are wizards, vampires, or a child in a dystopian society, deal with real life situations that are prominent in the lives of teens: peer pressure, coming of age, bullying, self-awareness, romance, sex, and choosing the right path to success.
2) Characters can serve as good role models.
Protagonists and antagonists, though fictitious, can be someone worth imitating when compared to numerous real life idols that are found in the media. Even if the said book character chooses to do something destructive, like drugs, they are often faced with a consequence. In contrast, when a celebrity does wrong they are often served with a lighter punishment than most would get as well as a rise in public recognition. The ability to see into a character’s thoughts and emotions as decisions are made may bring an adolescent realization regarding actions and their repercussions.
3) Reading provides an escape.
This is an obvious point but with rising amounts of adolescents turning to drugs, promiscuous sex, and alcohol as a form of escape, training children at a young age to develop a habit of turning to healthier means of retreat can make all the difference. Training can be done through a number of ways but mainly through example. While retreating may not be the best way to deal with problems or stress in the first place, time spent not dwelling on difficulties can help by allowing time for initial aggravation to dissipate and will then allow a clear mind to problem-solve with. Reading, writing, art, and sports are all healthy forms of escape as children learn to properly deal with stress.
4) Reading ability found to be linked to academic success.
In the academic article, “What they can’t read will hurt them”, educational researchers found that those who read often were found to have high academic scores. Even as infants, if they were read to, they are more likely to have “larger vocabularies, greater general knowledge, and better conceptual development than their peers, and in addition, they learn to read and write more quickly.” Understandably, new words are easier to remember if they are heard or read in a book, where one can use the situation or surrounding sentence to gather the meaning of an unfamiliar word.
Besides reading providing an escape, bringing academic success, providing good role models, and allowing teens to find relatable characters, it also allows for innumerable lands, futures, and alternate realities to be discovered and explored. With video games, social networking sites, and television taking up much of a teenager’s free time, it is difficult to get them to read, but encourage this good habit and the positive effects could be great. Find a young adult book genre that interests them, whether it is science fiction, romance, horror, or mystery, and guide them to cultivate a lifelong love for reading.
1) http://www.innovation.ukzn.ac.za/InnovationPdfs/No21pp33-41Pretorius.pdf. Innovation, December 2000.