How to Raise a Reader

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Both of my daughters are voracious readers.


I used to think that I was lucky.


But when I started thinking about it, I realized that while luck may have played a part, their love of reading wasn’t an accident. There were specific things their dad and I did (and continue to do) as parents to instill a love of reading in them.


Whether your kids are on the younger or the older side, I’ve got some tips to help you raise a reader, too:


Start As early as you can.

From the time they were itty bitty babies — and before they could even comprehend language — my kids were surrounded by books, and reading became part of our everyday life. We read board books, cloth books, and even waterproof books for bathtime!


It didn’t matter whether they understood the story. And it didn’t matter whether we made it through the entire book. I took their lead and let them tell me when they’d had enough, or when they wanted to read more.


The more pressured kids feel to do anything, the less likely they’ll want to do it for themselves. So the message you want to relay is: reading is fun.




repetition is key.

I know it can feel like a drag to read Goodnight Moon for the four-hundredth time, but repetition is so important for your little one’s learning. By reading the same books over and over, kids acquire skills related to speech, vocabulary, listening, and memory retention. So, take a deep breath and go ahead…read it again.


Visit the library often.

In my opinion, the library is one of the most underutilized places for families. Besides offering some amazing children’s classes and programs, kids can find books about anything at the library.


Is your child interested in animals? Trains? Sports? Whatever her interests, there are probably tons of books about it.


Is your child struggling in school? Moving to a new town? Getting ready to welcome a new baby to the family? Find a book about that experience and read it together with your child. My go-to resource for these types of books is Books That Heal Kids.


Don’t forget about how-to books. Your child can read about how to bake, craft, speak a new language, or learn a new skill.




Let them see you reading, too.

Kids model themselves after you. The more they see you reading books, the more they’ll want to do it, too.


Some parents might argue that reading on their phones or computers models good reading habits for their kids, but I disagree. Studies suggest that people who read on paper rather than on screens digest the material more fully, and can understand and remember it better.


Read to your kids, even As they get older.

Be careful not to assume that when your kids get older, they won’t want to read with you anymore. Reading at bedtime is the favorite time of day for my daughters and for me. We all look forward to connecting with each other during that time. Even as Marissa gets older, she still asks me to read to her every night and gets upset when our schedule doesn’t permit it.


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To see some of our all-time favorite books, visit my Pinterest board here. Check back often, as I’m always updating it based on what my girls like best.


You can also check out Brightly and Common Sense Media for age-appropriate book selections.


In the comments below, tell me: What are your/your kids’ favorite children’s books? How can you incorporate more reading into your lives and make it fun?


Showing 2 comments
  • Serena Baker

    Thank you for this post! I have been reading to my kids since they were infants. Now they are 8 and 11 and we continue to read and bond as a family through reading. I wish more parents understood the importance of reading together. It connects us after a long day. We are also able to discuss such topics as bullying, homelessness , perseverance all through reading.

    • Pam Howard

      Yes, Serena! Such a great point that reading can spark the best conversations about all kinds of issues. Thanks for commenting 😊

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