We’re thrilled that best-selling author AL Tait has shared her tips to get girls reading books again. AL is the author of seven books for readers aged 10-14 years, including her latest hit out this month The Fire Star. Find a full review of The Fire Star here, or read on for AL Tait’s best strategies to keep girls reading.
by AL Tait
Tweens, teens and reading. It’s a fraught subject in most households, I know, because as a co-admin of the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community, it’s a topic that comes up over and over again:
How do I get my daughter off screens and onto books?
Can anyone suggest books for a tween who wants to read YA?
My 12-year-old daughter used to be an avid reader, but now she’s lost interest. Any suggestions?
These are just some of the requests for help we’ve received over the past few weeks.
So, what to do?
Don’t miss Al Tait’s list of book recommendations: 21 books older girls will like
3 tips to get girls reading books
1. Let her read what she likes
When I was writing my new novel The Fire Star (A Maven & Reeve Mystery), I wrote exactly the kind of book that my 12-year-old self would have loved.
Full of mystery, adventure, with a clever heroine who does not suffer fools, a secret society, lots of intrigue, a charming hero who proves to be a great friend, and even a noble wedding.
Too often, I think that we try to steer our young readers away from the stories that engage (even engross), amuse and enchant them towards the kinds of books that we think they ‘should be reading’.
Or we worry that they’re venturing out into waters that might prove too turbulent for them in terms of content or themes.
It’s not easy when this happens, but try to trust that she’ll put it aside if it’s too much for her, or at the very least come and have a chat with you about it.
2. Offer her books she may not have thought of
One of the best things we can do to get girls reading again is, as I like to put it, throw books at them. Graphic novels, non-fiction, poetry, all manner of books.
Bring them home from the library, swap them with friends, get them from book fairs or bookshops.
You never know which book will be just the right book to make her a reader for life – and it might just surprise you.
AL Tait recommends these books, or try one of these: 21 awesome books for reluctant readers (they won’t be able to resist)
3. Get some help
If you’re struggling to come up with potential books for your young reader, don’t be afraid to chat to your school or town librarian or your local bookseller – they’re the experts and have no doubt encountered situations just like yours, over and over.
But sometimes your school doesn’t have a librarian, or you don’t get to the library often (hello lockdown) or your town no longer has a specialist bookshop. One of the reasons that I set up the Your Kid’s Next Read community was to bring together parents in this situation with not only other parents, but with teachers, librarians, booksellers, authors, and other publishing industry experts.
No matter what kind of book you’re looking for, someone in the group will have the perfect answer. Join us!
A.L. Tait is the author of three epic and engaging series for readers aged 10-14, including The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher and The Maven & Reeve Mysteries. Find out more at allisontait.com.
Images by Bron Maxabella