Newswise — Parents and teachers can help tweens become lifelong readers by encouraging them to read contemporary young adult novels.

"When we think about contemporary young adult literature, we think about those kinds of novels that have similar characters to young adults; they contain plots and subject matter that tweens are dealing with on a daily basis," said Dr. Joyce Stallworth, senior associate dean in The University of Alabama's College of Education.

"These kinds of books speak directly to tweens, so teachers would do well to incorporate this genre into their curriculum," said Stallworth.

"In middle school, especially, teachers can incorporate young adult novels that match curricular requirements and the interests and needs of the students. So, when they can use those books tweens are interested in, the odds go up that they will be lifelong readers and continue to enjoy reading when they enter high school."

But, Stallworth stresses, young adult literature is not just for school.

"Parents should take their kids to the library or bookstores to select those titles that tweens see themselves in and see their experiences are mirrored in the books."

For guidance, Stallworth suggests parents go the American Library Association's Web site.

"The ALA has a section on young adult literature that includes lists of books -- books for reluctant readers, for the college bound, and even graphic novels for those students who still enjoy pictures with the words on the page.

"Parents can read synopses of books, appropriateness for age, and information on authors.

"The more ways we can bring families into the literary enterprise " giving them resources to bring reading into the home on a routine basis " then we'll continue to see improvement."