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During the teenage years, enthusiasm for reading can wane. Maybe it has to do with getting smartphones, which provide a different type of entertainment. Or the desire to spend more time with friends. Maybe it’s because they now also have assigned summer reading for school, which sucks a bit of the joy out of this pastime. 

If any of this sounds familiar to you, and you’re wondering how to get your kid’s nose back into a book, you’re not alone. One way to encourage summer reading is to make it relaxing and offer some escape, especially after the challenging year we’ve just had. (We all need a beach read sometimes.) So don’t pressure them into anything too challenging. This is a chance to use their imagination. Or break out the Harry Potter set and let ‘em re-read old favorites. And if your summer plans involve a long car ride, try an audio book to make the trip go faster.

Reading has so many benefits, including increasing language fluency and vocabulary.  But it also helps our kids to empathize with others by learning about unfamiliar experiences. What better way to spend their summer?

Award-winning author Renee Garrison has written two books on her life with midshipmen at the Sanford Naval Academy, The Anchor Clankers and Anchored Together.