How do I teach a 13 year old to read and write? 10 Tips

One of the best ways to teach a 13-year-old to read and write is to Encourage reading for pleasure, offer diverse reading materials, and engage in discussions about the content to foster a love for reading and improve writing skills.

How do I teach a 13 year old to read and write

Reading and writing skills are essential for everyone. Both skills are fundamental to expressing emotions, knowledge, and imagination and are necessary to one’s social construct.

From a child to a teen, parents or teachers need to teach 13-year-olds language skills that foster intellectual and personal development in their young minds. It is also evident that teaching a young child who is 12 or 13 years old will help them develop cognitive and motor skills. Reading and writing also help retain information and writing fosters new ideas.

Using compelling reading and writing strategies and employing positive learning experiences, a parent or a teacher can instill a love for language skills like Reading and writing in children, which will serve them well in their future life, be it a social or professional life – where they will need these skills further their careers.

Example guiding prompts supported by help prompts

Reading also helps 13-year-olds with cognitive development by providing detailed background information about the subject and filling the brain with generative ideas.

The guide below will explore practical steps to guide your young learner toward a successful literacy journey.

1. Assessing the 13-Year-Old’s Current Skills

 Before diving into teaching, assessing your 13-year-old’s reading and writing abilities is vital. Conduct a comprehensive assessment to identify their strengths and weaknesses. This evaluation will help tailor your teaching approach to their individual needs, ensuring a more effective learning experience. 

Additionally, understanding their interests and preferences will enable you to select relevant reading materials and writing topics that spark their curiosity.

2. Building a Positive Reading Environment

 Create a dedicated reading space at home filled with age-appropriate books, magazines, and newspapers. A cozy and inviting reading corner encourages your child to spend more time with books. Encourage leisure reading, allowing them to explore various genres and discover what resonates with them.

3. Phonics and Vocabulary Building

 Introduce phonics principles and sounds to help your child understand how letters and sounds correspond. Practice word recognition and decoding skills to enhance their ability to read unfamiliar words.

Engage in word games and activities to expand their vocabulary, making learning fun and interactive.

4. Reading Comprehension Strategies

Experts recommend parents teach children active reading techniques, including asking questions when reading a book, story, or science fiction. Other reading techniques, such as making predictions, connecting with the text, and engaging in comprehension, help kids to become active readers

Parents can join the Parent-Child Reading Enhancement Program, which teaches parents and guardians techniques to improve children’s reading levels at ages 4-6. The five critical areas of this course are phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency.

  Encourage summarization and critical thinking by asking your child to provide a brief summary or express their opinions about the story’s themes and characters.

5. Grammar and Writing Basics

In their research paper “Improving Children’s written grammar and style: revising and editing with HARRY,” C.E. Holdich, P.W.H. Chung, and R.G. Holdich at Loughborough University noted that revising and editing practices could nurture better grammar and writing progress in kids. They add, “Using computer-assisted learning with revising and editing practices could improve grammar and writing basics in kids.”

Also, they recommend Providing writing exercises and prompts to nurture their writing skills. Offer constructive feedback on their writing assignments, highlighting improvement areas while acknowledging their progress.

Parents can use reading, learning, and educational apps with English comprehension to sharpen their children’s grammar and writing skills.

6. Journaling and Creative Writing

Encourage your 13-year-old to maintain a daily journal where they can freely express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Additionally, explore various writing styles like narrative, descriptive, and persuasive writing. Engage their creativity through storytelling, allowing them to let their imagination run wild.

According to the recent study “Creative Art: Connection to Health and Wellbeing” by Elizabeth Gorny-Wegrzyn and Beth Perry at Athabasca University – poetry and storytelling can enhance and foster creative writing and journaling interests in a young kid’s mind. We also recommend family members to engage with their children in creative activities as it also helps and nurtures their creativity and overall wellbeing. 

According to a study published by The Meriden Family Programme titled “Family work, creativity and wellbeing” family engagement in creative activities, providing a supportive environment, and giving children opportunities to express their creativity fosters creative writing skills and also inspires kids to explore their imagination and develop their writing skills. 

7. Using Technology for Reading and Writing

¬†Incorporate educational apps and online resources to supplement traditional reading materials. Technology offers interactive ways to engage with texts and provides access to vast information. However, it’s crucial to balance screen time with other offline activities.

8. Reading and Writing Together

Participate in shared reading sessions with your child, alternating the reader and listener roles. Collaborate on writing projects to inspire teamwork and creativity. Bond over books and writing, sharing your favorite stories and encouraging them to share theirs.

9. Reward and Recognition

 Celebrate your child’s achievements and progress in their reading and writing journey. Positive reinforcement enhances motivation and instills confidence. Set new challenges to keep their interest piqued and encourage continuous growth.

10. Overcoming Challenges

Acknowledge that every child learns at their own pace and may encounter challenges. Identify and address any reading difficulties promptly, seeking additional support from teachers or tutors if necessary. Encourage perseverance and resilience, reassuring them that mistakes are essential to the learning process.


Teaching a 13-year-old to read and write is a rewarding and transformative experience. By fostering a positive reading environment, nurturing their creativity, and using effective teaching strategies, you empower your child with valuable skills that will serve them well throughout their lifetime. 

Parents should also embrace this journey with patience, enthusiasm, and wonder and watch as their children’s passion for reading and writing flourishes.