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Will you still be reading aloud to your teenager?

I loved reading aloud to my children when they were growing up. To curl up with a book and watch their inquisitive faces as I shared a story with them was such a joy. I’m sure you have that same warm, contented feeling when you read to your kids, too.

I have to say that when my kids got older and started reading on their own it was both a proud and sad time. It was wonderful seeing them progress onto chapter books, relying less on me for reading duties and happily losing themselves in a book on their own. But once they had become independent readers, I knew my time as Chief Storyteller was over. Or so I thought.

reading aloud, kids reading, tidy books, kids bookcases Reading aloud together. Photo credit @_francescasantini_  Three Little Pigs blog

The other day I met a mum who is still reading aloud to her 13-year-old. How brilliant is that? She and her son share an interest in history and when he started reading a history book that had been recommended by his teacher he suggested his mum read it as well. So she said ‘Well maybe we could read it together.’

You’d think that hanging out with his mum reading would be the last thing a young teen would want to do but her son thought it was a great idea. So in the evening, before his bedtime, they sit on the sofa taking it in turns to read the book out loud to one another. And they both love it.

A few years ago, research by the children’s publisher, Scholastic, found that three-quarters of parents were reading aloud to their kids when they were aged 5 or under, but that number tailed off as kids grew older. Only 20% of the parents surveyed read to their 9-11 year olds. What’s really sad is that around one-third of those older children said they’d wanted their parents to continue reading to them.

When your child starts growing up you assume there are some ‘uncool’ things they won’t want to do anymore. But the reality can be so different. The mum I met likens reading a book with her son to watching a TV documentary together. They can discuss the subject, ask each other questions and enjoy the experience of learning together. She really loves that they can share their curiosity about the world through their love of reading.

She says that reading aloud together is a natural activity for the two of them and that it’s lovely spending quality time with her son – which, let’s face it, isn’t always easy to achieve with a teen! Of course not every teenager wants to read with their parents – but it might just be that yours does. You never know until you ask... so I’m going to wrestle the Xbox away from my 14-year-old and find out...

geraldine grandidier, tidy books


Geraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

6 thoughts on “Will you still be reading aloud to your teenager?”


    A real good habit that inculcates mental and emotional strength to the young minds.They develop a habit of questioning and thinking through reading aloud.Reading aloud also develops children's interest and curiosity in books.I need more material regarding reading aloud for critical thinking in children.

  • Monica Gilbert

    This reminds me of when I started reading the Harry Potter series as a young adult. My brother was a teen, and I began reading it aloud to him. Kept that going through the entire series, even when he was in his 20s. It was our thing.

  • Elfers

    My just turned 11 year old has become very lazy about/ reluctant to read books over the last year...but remains entranced by the talking books his blind dad shares with him. We both stress how he can get the same enjoyment but the added benefit of "the boring but worthy stuff" like spelling & grammar familiarity. Well recently I have exploited his burgeoning interest in putting on accents and mine co-op read books...It's been great to see his interest growing in David O'Doherty's Moone Boy books, thanks to the ooh er, slightly naughty humour and his & mum's Oirish accent enthusiasm...Oh I've got such a lot to share, if I can just keep him interested...I'll keep at it..

    • Gèraldine Grandidier, Tidy Books founder

      Thank you for sharing your story -it sounds like your 11 year old is part of an enthusiastic reading family! I think many parents of teenagers are hopeful that their once bookworm will rediscover their passion for books. Your reading together sounds like fabulous fun. Best of luck :)

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