There are many ways a rangatahi / young person can discover the joys and benefits of reading and become a Champion of Reading.
Some types of reading include:
Learning a new game (including video games) by reading instructions
Following a recipe
Reading signs, billboards and posters
Learning the lyrics to a song
Watching TV with subtitles on
Representing ideas by drawing or painting
Sending texts and messages to your mates
Listening to stories
Even reading a room
Rangatahi / young people are lucky to live during a time where access to high quality stories is easier than ever. They might prefer to read books or comics or they might choose e-books, podcasts, audiobooks or something else entirely.
You can help them find the many benefits of reading beyond enjoyment and fun, such as strengthening brain connections, reducing stress and building insight and empathy. Supporting and encouraging a rangatahi / young person to be a champion of reading can happen in many ways, some of which don’t involve books at all.
Ben Brown, New Zealand’s first Te Awhi Rito Reading Ambassador, disputes the idea that young people don’t read. He recommends finding out what your rangatahi / young person enjoys. By doing this, you can help them find stories and genres they engage with. Here are some popular topics:
Graphic comics – hugely popular with young readers, they are a mix of pictures and words These may be especially helpful for rangatahi / young people who don’t want to read long word-heavy books. and there are great options for all ages
Chick Lit – written by women authors, these are light and funny and cover subjects such as dating, friendship and teen pregnancy
Dystopian – set in alternative worlds or futuristic societies, they include elements of romance, science fiction and conflict
Biography - a description of someone’s life and work
Steampunk – a mix of modern technology and the Victorian age
Sports – books about the history of sports and famous players
We charge our phones and even our cars, but our brain needs to recharge too. For many, practicing mindfulness can help them do this.
Mindfulness involves focusing your mind on one thing. For some people, reading is the perfect choice. If you think this could benefit a rangatahi / young person in your life, you can help create a great environment to practice mindfulness through reading:
help them to block time in their day when they can read without interruption
help them find books, magazines, comics, or audiobooks that they like
help them to stick with it by showing interest in what they read. You might ask them questions or read the same thing and talk about it
play a game together, cook together, visit a museum or an art gallery – get involved
Remember reading can look different for different people. A rangatahi / young person might prefer to put headphones on and listen to an audiobook. This is just as valuable as reading a printed book or an ebook
Local libraries are not only a place to borrow books from. You can also find magazines, games, music albums, audiobooks and e-books!