Attracting Teens to Reading

Attracting Teens to Reading


Great Falls Children’s Librarian Sharon Harmon poses with a furry friend.

Parents of teenagers may find it harder to encourage their children to read. Sharon Harmon of Great Falls Library and Jennifer McCullough of Dolley Madison agree that participation in the Summer Reading Program declines as children get older. But getting teenagers to read certainly isn’t impossible, McCullough said.


Teen Librarian Jennifer McCullough in the Young Adult Section of Dolley Madison.

“It’s hard to get teens into the library, but once we get talking to them we can usually find something they like,” McCullough said.

Some of her recommendations include science fiction and fantasy series like “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins and “Harry Potter” by J.K. Rowling, both of which remain popular reads among teens. She also recommends “Embers and Echoes” by Karsten Knight.

Her nonfiction recommendations include “Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different,” a biography of the late tech giant aimed at teens by Karen Blumenthal, and the graphic autobiography “Smile” by Raina Telgemeier.

Her Dolley Madison colleague Bonnie Weston often recommends “The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure” by Martin W. Sandler and “Island of Thieves” by Josh Lacey to teenagers unsure of what to read.

At Great Falls Library, Sharon Harmon suggests checking that out the county’s list of suggested titles for teens is a good place to start.

Titles like “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green and the Alex Rider series by Anthony Harowitz are often requested by teens at the branch.