Dropping in quickly to with a few tidbits for those with older, independent readers (ages 6-18). The new Kindles, MP3 players and other devises make having books more affordable (under $10 most of the time) and portable. Not able to afford a book reader? Try audio downloads available as well. Take advantage of the fact that your young person loves technology and consider one for them sometime this year.
The local Huntsville/Madison County Public Library in my home of Huntsville, AL is loaning downloads of ebooks (a great idea). Visit their site to see how they do it and share the idea with your local library too.
Remember when helping choose titles (really let the kids do the choosing) to gravitate to high interest and light topics for the everyday "recreational" reading you want to encourage. Starting in middle school, kids get a lot of reading assignments at school but you want them to stay connected to the fun, the wonder, the draw of books that are "off that official list" and are chosen specifically by the end reader. In fact, a friend of mine, Jim Cope of Kennesaw State University did a study several years ago in Georgia that revealed that choice was the major factor in whether older students continued to read past the "snuggle and cuddle stage" of reading with their families.
Here are just a few titles to consider:
Young Adult: Fang by James Patterson
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope by Jenna Bush
Tweens: Long Shadows by Erin Hunter
So B. It by Sarah Weeks
Smiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli
Don't forget the importance of talking with your child about what they are reading - no drills, just good conversation.