My tween is a magazine girl. I didn't realize this fact until last summer; I was a little late to the periodical party. I love seeing her get excited when a new one arrives in the mail and tear into it. Here are reviews of three favorite tween magazines aimed at girls.
Benefits of magazines for tween readers
Some people eschew tween magazines as not being serious reading, but there are numerous benefits to magazines. The skills used and developed when reading magazines can be applied to higher level reading and other academic subjects, according to MathandReadingHelp.org. The puzzles and other mind games that boost reasoning and problem-solving skills. Moreover, Victor C. Strasburger, chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine told Live Strong that magazines can avoid "mean world syndrome" because "[a]s they grow older, children's magazines introduce serious topics gradually and help to put them into context for kids."
Favorite tween zines
Discovery Girls is far and away my tween's favorite magazine. Not only does she love getting it in the mail, she has taken to checking out older copies from the school library. When it arrives in the mail, she grabs it, sits on the couch and reads it cover to cover. That makes my heart happy, and that she is so excited to read quality content makes me love this magazine.
Its "goal is to help girls grow and develop, forming a positive sense of self through solutions that build confidence, resilience and independence." The magazine is aimed at tweens ages 8-12, and covers a lot of topical tween issues, from friends who are won't stop talking about their new favorite band to divorcing parents. It covers issues that come with growing up, like how often to shower, and a piece on "worst days" that readers have had. I've found that the "worst days" section can provide some much needed perspective for my tween and help her realize that she's not the only one who has embarrassing moments. There is also a Kindle edition.
Sports Illustrated Kids is aimed at boys and girls who are sports fans, and includes stories with the latest star athletes, games, trivia and a poster in each issue. It has won recognition form the Association of Educational Publishers and the Parents' Choice Awards. It's easy to see why. The content is aimed at kids but is not condescending. The magazine also includes an SI Teen Bonus Section in each issue, with 8-12 extra pages each month for the sports fan 11 years old and older "who is ready for more challenging stories." This section is most suited to older tweens or more advanced readers. I wish that the section was larger for kids not yet ready for adult SI but who have moved beyond the "Kids" level. Sadly, a lot of 12 year-old boys aren't going to want to sit down with the "Kids" section but is great for younger tweens. Find the tablet edition here.
American Girl Magazine is a runner up in this category. My tween likes it for two big reasons: the quizzes and the crafts. We have used it for ideas for her birthday party and a snow party that she hosted. The ideas are creative, inexpensive, and ones that my tween can execute without a lot of help. I also like the word games and puzzles in the magazine, which The other magazines don't offer as many crafts like this magazine does. The magazine prides itself on being ad-free, but the magazine itself is a pretty big ad for American Girl products, which are certainly not cheap. That said, I appreciate that there isn't a push for this latest beauty product and electronic device and there aren't celebrity features. It's all about regular girls, and that being a regular girl is pretty great. It is aimed at girls 8-12 but seems most appropriate for girls at the younger end of the tween spectrum. It offer solid advice.
Girls Life magazine does have an eye on makeup, beauty and fashion and is thus aimed at older, more mature tweens. While it says it is aimed at girls from 10 to 15 years old, it may be best for girls even older than 10. It include celebrity interviews, as well as the ever-popular quizzes. It also deals with the body changes that accompany puberty more directly and in greater detail than the other publications. Parents of younger tween may want to preview the "your bod" section first. It's more detail that my 10 year-old is ready for at the moment, although I appreciate the treatment of puberty as normal and the focus on self-esteem. Parents’ Choice has given the publication several of its Gold Awards. Find the Kindle edition here.
Happy reading! Please share your tween's favorite magazine in the comments section.
You may also like: 7 great tween reads for National Read a Book Day
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*I received copies of Discovery Girl magazine to review, but my tween was already checking them out of the library. Other magazines we checked out at the library or book store. All opinions are our own and we were not compensated for any of them.