Instead of telling teens that reading is important because it will make them smarter and improve their grades, why not tap into their inherent desire to be independent, different and rebellious?
If a teen asks why reading is important, tell them this:
Reading is the best way to escape and be on your own – even when you're surrounded by people. It's also a perfectly legal way to hallucinate different worlds and different lives. Reading is an act of rebellion: you can think thoughts that no-one has taught you to think. And if you think about a good book deeply enough, it can give you superpowers that not many other people have.