Setting Yearly Reading Goals for Teens

Setting realistic reading goals for the year is always a challenge for teens, and even for me as a librarian. Setting a realistic reading goal for the year not only helps them improve their reading skills by encouraging consistent reading habits and expanding their vocabulary, but it also fosters a love of literature that will stay with them for a lifetime. But setting reading goals is only the first step. It is just as important to give them tips on how to meet those goals.

School-specific reading challenges

One way to encourage teens to meet their reading goals is to create a school-wide reading challenge that reflects your school’s unique identity. This challenge could include setting creative and personalized goals, such as reading a book that features your school mascot as a character, or choosing a book with the same first or last name as a teacher. This not only adds an element of fun and personalization, but also fosters a sense of community as learners take on the challenge together.

School-wide book club without a specific book

Another way to ensure that your teens meet their reading goals for the year is to create a school-wide book club that does not have specific books, but simply talks about what they are reading. This approach can be especially helpful for learners who struggle to find books they enjoy or who feel overwhelmed by the idea of choosing a book on their own. By discussing books with their peers and hearing about what others are reading, learners are exposed to a wider variety of literature and may be more motivated to read something new.

A school-wide book club can create a sense of community among learners and faculty. Everyone can come together to share their thoughts and ideas about different books, fostering a love of reading and learning.


Another way to encourage teens to reach their reading goals is to offer incentives for reaching certain milestones. For example, students who read a certain number of books could be entered into a drawing for a prize. Or recognize learners who reach their goals in the school announcements, the library newsletter, or on the bulletin board. By creating a positive and engaging reading culture in the school, students are more likely to achieve their reading goals and develop a lifelong love of reading.

Most Importantly 

Provide learners with a variety of reading materials that meet their interests. This can be accomplished by creating a diverse collection of books and magazines that cover a range of topics, such as sports, music, fashion, and current events. Inviting authors to speak at the school can also inspire teens to read more.

In addition to these tips, it’s important to give learners a variety of reading challenges. Encourage them to read books from different genres, authors, and cultures. Not only will this broaden their reading experience, but it will also help build empathy and understanding for people from different backgrounds. Consider creating reading challenges that are diverse and inclusive. This could include challenges such as reading books by authors of color, books that feature LGBTQ+ characters, or books that explore mental health issues. By providing learners with a variety of reading challenges, you will not only help them meet their reading goals, but you will also promote a more inclusive and diverse reading culture in your school.

It’s important to create a positive reading culture in schools by celebrating reading achievements and encouraging learners to share their opinions and experiences with others. By creating a supportive environment for reading, teens are more likely to develop a lifelong love of reading and continue to read for pleasure as adults.


Author: Jessica Fitzpatrick

Jessica Fitzpatrick is a high school librarian in Houston and is in her tenth year of education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Houston and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas. She is a 2022 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, 2022 TLA MVP, an AASL Inspire Special Event Grant recipient, 2022 YALSA’s MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens, the 2022 TLA Branding Award Winner for Reading Program, the 2020 TLA Branding Award Winner for Community Engagement, YALS article contributor, and on the TAYSHAS Reading Committee. She enjoys running, reading, and spending time with her two daughters and husband. You can follow her on Instagram at @librarian_fitz and on Twitter at @librarianfitz .

Categories: Literacy

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