“How do I get my kid to like reading?”

How do I get my kid to enjoy reading? That is the question for today on Tips on Teens. My name is
Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist and the founder and clinical
director of Teen Therapy Center and also the executive director for Child and Teen Counseling,
a non -profit training site for therapists in grad school offering low -cost counseling to
the community. Every Wednesday at noon, I come on Facebook and answer your parenting questions
and here is the question of today. How do I get my kid to enjoy reading? I love reading, and I loved
it when I was growing up, but he hates it. He's in middle school, and all he wants to do is play video
games. I want him to have more balance. Balance, that is the key word right there. We're all looking
for that elusive balance, but we all kind of have a different idea what that is. Balance is not
easy. It is not a place where everything's going smoothly. balance is kind of in this middle
ground between sometimes easy and overwhelmingly

challenging. But it can be challenging to get there, but it's never easy to get there. So let's
look at what are some factors that may be contributing to this young man's inability to enjoy
reading. Number one, maybe he was forced down his throat his whole life and pushed, you're gonna
be a reader, you're gonna be a great reader, and now he's just rebelling us, I hate reading I'm
never gonna read again and that's something we want to make sure we want to curb and shift. Another
thing is perhaps he has some learning challenges or learning differences. Kids who have a lot
of attention issues and are a lot of energy of a thousand megawatt you know battery inside their
chest always going it's hard to sit on the couch and read a chapter of a book because they want
to keep running and going and jumping and climbing and it's important you find a way for that
kid to expel some of that energy before he's reading. Because if he's trying to read and he's
got so much energy, that's just not a good

combination. Another thing is I would want to have him assessed by a developmental optometrist.
Find out if he has any visual processing issues. Now that is separate from what his vision is.
Your kid may have 20 -20 vision and still not be able to process what he's reading. He may be able
to see it clearly, but as it translates into his brain, the words are blurry, fuzzy, they move
around, and takes a lot of effort to get that back in gear and in line and that can be a major challenge.
So what's important is getting that assessed and if he needs visual therapy, vision therapy
to kind of align his eyes, make sure they're all going the same place, make sure the muscles are
working together. I've seen several kids have that vision therapy and be able to read and enjoy
reading. Another thing, let's not focus on reading competency, let's focus on the joy of reading.
If you get the joy of reading, competency will flow easily. But trying to get competency before
joy, it's really difficult. Try

to think of anything you really don't want to do and you have to go master it. That is a challenging,
challenging uphill battle. But if you love doing it, you're going to throw yourself into it.
So let him read whatever he wants. Even if it's three years below his reading level, it doesn't
matter. If it's graphic novels, if it's books that he should have been reading, you know, when
he was nine, It doesn't matter if he's enjoying them. Let him read them If he keeps enjoying him
his maturity level will catch up and find other content That is more to his maturity level that
where he's chronologically at Also audiobooks are really great. If it's really hard for him
to focus on a page and get the reading down Listen to audiobooks podcasts if an audiobook is too
long a podcast about something he's interested in sports You know Pokemon doesn't matter what
it is as long as it's you know, somewhat age -appropriate and it's not too advanced for him, because
that you're using your brain, you're visualizing

things right to hear. So I think it's really important to incorporate that. Again, we're trying
to teach a love of reading, not reading competency. Reading competency will come after the
love of reading is built. Let's see, what else was I going to say? One more thing about this. Losing
it. Old age. Anyways, so make sure that there's no learning challenges, vision processing
issues make sure he has a love of reading also read to him which is really important make sure
oh video games she said something about video games didn't she yes she did video games take all
the love and joy out of reading because it's all right there for you it's visually stimulating
it's fun and exciting there's nothing as fun as a video game well it's harder to read when you're
drawn to the excitement of a video game so you may need to start limiting screens. That includes
video games, YouTube, TV, and that goes for everyone. You can't just limit for him. You got to
limit for everybody. And imagine if everyone's

sitting on the couch on a Tuesday evening after school, after work, everyone's done with their
stuff, and you guys are reading instead of watching the game, whatever it is. Now I know you're
thinking, but I love my shows! And that's great! You can still love your shows, just postpone
when you can watch them. You'll find time. I promise you, you will. You put your kids to bed, you'll
get your half hour, an hour, and it'll be fine. Now, you may have to decide what's more important,
sleep or your show, but isn't this what we're trying to teach our children? So, I encourage you
to walk the walk. Video games, TV, YouTube, they're all a lot easier than reading. So we want
to develop that muscle, and the enjoyment of that muscle. It's kind of like working out, you
know that first month working out, you hate it, but after that month, you start getting into
it, and that soreness is a good sore, you're like, okay, I'm getting some, going somewhere,
I'm feeling good. It's kind of like that with reading.

Anyways, that is our question for today. If you have more questions, you can email us your question
at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com. We'll answer your question. We love your questions.
Keep them coming. And, yeah. I'll see you guys next week, Wednesday at noon. Bye -bye.

Reading is integral to stimulating a child’s development and imagination…But not every kid likes to read! This week’s Tips On Teens question comes from a family wondering how to make reading something their child actively wants to do:

“How do I get my kid to enjoy reading? I love reading and I loved it when I was growing up, but he hates it. He’s in middle school and all he wants to do is play video games. I want him to have more balance.”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.