Boost Your Teen’s Brain Power…But Start Early
If you want to boost your teen’s brain power, start when they are children, before the time of the teen push for independence. Really, this way of boosting teen brain power is quite simple. Encourage them to read as children. A study of over 10,243 teens found reading for pleasure during childhood contributed to improved verbal learning, memory, speech development, and school academic achievement in the teen years.
Even more, reading for pleasure as a child was associated with fewer signs of stress and depression, improved attention, and fewer incidents of aggression and rule-breaking in teen.
But wait, there’s more. Children who read for pleasure also engaged in less screen time as a teen and slept longer.
The best results were found in those teens who read up to 12 hours a week as a child. That’s about one hour and 43 minutes a day. So, if you want to boost your teens brain power, awaken the joy of reading in them while they are still children. Here’s how to begin.
- Let your children see you reading for pleasure. Children follow our example. So, let them see you read for pleasure, not just for work. Talk about the fun things you’ve read about or the stories you read. Let them hear you talk about the adventures you enjoy while reading.
- Read to your children. When they are very young, read simple picture books. As they get older you can read children’s chapter books. Make it a fun time together by engaging them while reading rather than simply reading the page in a monotone voice. Take on the voice of each character. Ask questions about what your child thinks might happen next. React to surprising twists in the plot. Engage the story and your child as you read.
- As your children begin to read independently, read the same book they are reading. Talk about the book with them. Enjoy sharing your reactions and surprises to the book.
- Visit the library together. Walk through the stacks of books with your children and discover the joys of what you can learn and read. If your library has reading times, take your child to them.
- Depending on the kind of book your children enjoy, you can visit the places described in the book. For instance, if your child reads a book about the American revolution and you live near Philadelphia, take a road trip and visit the Liberty Bell. Reading about Walt Disney may lead up to a trip to Disneyland or reading about Martin Luther King may lead up to a trip to Atlanta. You get the idea. Let the books come alive by visiting a place associated with that book.