>Why Reading as a Teenager is Important

>My sister and I got talking recently about books we read as children. It got me thinking about what I read as a teenager and how deeply those books affected me at the time, and how so many of them have stuck with me years later. You’re developing emotionally in leaps and bounds as a teen. Pretty much everything at that time in life is an emotional experience, much more so than when you’re younger.

The books and authors I loved through those years (L.M. Montgomery, Ann Rinaldi, Sherry Garland) shaped my thinking, my perspective on life, and my writing. To some extent, reading as a teen kept me stable. The books I read were filled with teenagers experiencing similar feelings to mine. While I escaped into other worlds, time periods, and lands, reading also helped me know I wasn’t alone.

Books also kept my imagination alive and well. While television and movies do the work for you, books demand interaction. As a young writer, I was also learning in the process. I often copied the styles of writers I liked and that helped me to eventually find my own style. Just like music and dancing, reading and writing influence our development. It’s not a waste of time, and I’m always happy to see younger people reading and writing for the fun of it.

Reading doesn’t have to be a natural love to be enjoyable either. Some people just love to read straight out of the womb. I wasn’t one of them. I always loved stories but an actual love of reading didn’t come until my early teens. Part of the trick is finding the right books. If you find a book you love, you’ll be hooked and want to read more. For me, it was Anne of Green Gables. I almost finished the series in a week while on vacation with my family. Once I knew what I liked, it was just a matter of finding more books like that.

Besides Anne of Green Gables, The Last Silk Dress by Ann Rinaldi, Shadow of the Dragon by Sherry Garland, and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor started a fire for me. What books influenced (or are influencing) you as a teenager?


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