On the list of top New Year’s resolutions — up there with adopting a healthier diet and more exercise — it’s typical to find “read more books” as an aspirational goal. Most of us would agree that it’s a worthy target as we seek options that will inspire, enlighten, intrigue, or entertain us. Guiding our kids to select good reading that’s age appropriate can be especially tricky since so many of the books marketed for middle schoolers today espouse a worldview that’s not at all in sync with our Christian perspective.
With that concern in mind, how can we encourage our kids to read excellent books for pleasure and enrichment apart from their normal school assignments?
Make It a Habit
What if we developed the habit to reach for a book in our free time rather than a digital device? Might we become more focused, less distracted, and more reflective? The jury is still out on how extended digital interface affects the brain of growing children, but there’s no disputing the axiom that readers are leaders!
While your middle schooler might be giving a second glance to some of the popular trending bookstore selections, it wouldn’t hurt to remind them that what they read really does shape their opinions and beliefs. Are they filling their hearts and minds with thoughts, characters, and plots that build their Christian character, or that tear it down? The old illustration of garbage in/garbage out remains useful for parents having this discussion with their kids.
Reach for Something New!
Our middle school students read a wide range of classic books as part of their curriculum, but for free reading when they’re not fulfilling an assignment, they might consider:
- A Teen’s Guide to the Five Love Languages (Gary Chapman) What middle schooler doesn’t want to create better relationships? This is a teen adaptation of a book that has become a mainstay for adults in helping to maintain healthy, God-honoring relationships with family and friends.
- Shaken (Tim Tebow) Athletes will love this book, but even non-athletes can appreciate the commitment of Tim Tebow to live out his faith in the professional sports spotlight.
- The Prince Warrior series (Priscilla Evans Shirer) would be a great choice for students who have enjoyed the Narnia books. This series is an epic adventure trilogy that brings to life the invisible struggle in the spiritual realm and focuses on truths from Ephesians 6:10-18.
- Rock Harbor Search and Rescue (Colleen Coble) is fiction that will appeal to girls with a strong sense of adventure.
- Calico Bush (Rachel Field), a Newbery Honor book, is historical fiction set in 1743 that highlights a girl’s strength, quick thinking, and courage in the midst of difficult circumstances.
- The Sign of the Beaver (Elizabeth George Speare), another Newbery Honor award winner, is an amazing survival story about a 13-year-old boy living in the wilderness in the 1700s.
- Born Again (Charles Colson) is a challenging biography, best for older middle schoolers, which tells the transformative story of a life changed by the Gospel and set on a new path of ministry.
- All Creatures Great and Small (James Herriot) will delight animal lovers with heartwarming stories of a British veterinarian.
There’s Help To Be Found!
The faculty and staff at Northside Christian Academy help middle school students develop an appreciation for good literature that can lead to a lifelong love of reading and learning. As a private Christian school serving Charlotte, NC, and vicinity, NCA partners with parents to provide a solid, biblical foundation for life and learning. That’s why Wisdom, Honor, and Truth are NCA’s three core values!
Learn more about Northside Christian Academy by scheduling your tour today.