Kids + Teens

10 Expert Tips for Raising a Reader

You don’t have to look far to find a study that shows the benefits of reading to a child’s development, but getting your child to feel passionate about books can be easier said than done. We decided to reach out to some of our favorite parent book bloggers and asked them for their best advice for raising a reader!

1. Make a reading routine

“Reading is the star of our bedtime routine. My boy picks two books, and I choose the third. This way he reads books that pique his interest and he’s introduced to books he normally wouldn’t select.” —Christine Moningka from The Bookworm Club

Her recommended reading: “We’re reading Sparkle and Spin by Ann and Paul Rand. It’s a witty and colorful book that celebrates words!”

 

2. But remember that story time can be anytime

“Raising readers is a lot of fun! One easy tip to follow in this worthy endeavor comes from a Dr. Seuss quote that states: ‘Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.’ We have books all over our home on shelves and in baskets so that they are easily accessible and are always around. You don’t need a massive library to do this—just spread what you have over a couple locations. This extends story time to all times of day, not just bedtime. One of my favorite things is when one of my toddlers comes to me with a book or two, in the middle of the afternoon, that they want me to read. It is the stuff of a book nerd mom’s dreams.” —Clarissa from Book Nerd Mommy

Her recommended reading: “Love Is by Diane Adams and illustrated by Claire Keane.  It is an absolutely darling book about the true meaning of love and one that we adore over here.”

 

3. Start with love

“A child who conjures up warm and happy memories every time he or she picks up a book is a child who will become a reader for life. Resist the temptation to teach kids to read for themselves when they are very young—and just nurture that love for a while instead!” —Sarah Mackenzie from Read-Aloud Revival Podcast

Her recommended reading: “A Seed is Sleepy (and all of the books by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long)—my kids and I could stare at the gorgeous illustrations for hours!”

 

4. Surround yourself with books

“The best way to raise a reader is to have piles and piles of books around. Whether you get them from a library or stock your own shelves, readers become readers by having lots to read. And when they notice the piles and begin to rummage through them, let them choose whatever it is they want—their tastes might be different than yours and that’s okay.” —Carter Higgins, author and blogger from Design of the Picture Book

Her recommended reading: “Press Here by Hervé Tullet.”

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5. Make it fun

“Last week I was reading with a first grade class and told them they didn’t have to read anything. But when they started chiming in, I exclaimed (with a look of shock), ‘Hey, you’re sneak reading! No fair!’ They thought it was hilarious and just kept doing it more.” —Mary Ann Scheuer from Great Kid’s Books

Her recommended reading: “This particular little kid grew up asking for Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site all the time. He still loves books with trucks, race cars, and monster trucks. So now we’re trying to find every beginning reader book with vehicles. Go with what they love and you’ll build a reader!”

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6. Look in mirrors and through windows

“I believe in filling my daughter’s life with both mirror books that reflect her experience, like Little Miss, Big Sis, and window books that allow her to have a view into diverse experiences, like Stella Brings the Family. Both kinds of books find their way into our nightly bedtime story time ritual.” —Stacey Shubitz from Two Writing Teachers

Her recommended reading: “Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer and by Holly Clifton-Brown.”

 

7. Practice persistence and patience

“I had a stubborn kid who loved being read to, but was reluctant to learn how to read. So I did what I knew I could do: make reading rad. My best tips to those trying to raise and reader are [to] be persistent and patient. It might be a quick transition or it might take a LONG time, like it did for us. But if you are persistently reading out loud to your child and patient in their path to reading, it will eventually click. And even when it does click, keep reading out loud anyway. It’s one of the best things we can do as parents.” —The Reading Ninja

Their recommended reading: The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer by Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud

 

8. Read aloud

“Read aloud! It’s never too early to start reading aloud! It’s great for building vocabulary and bonding with your child, and the one-on-one attention they receive will encourage a positive association with reading. Find a comfortable place to sit, read slowly and with expression, answering and encouraging any questions they may have. We have incorporated this into our daily bedtime routine for both our children, and it has been so rewarding to see their love for books grow over time.” —Heather Hawkins from Tiny Readers

Her recommended reading: “Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera.”

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9. Get a library card

“This is one of the best ways to find new books and favorite authors. It’s also fun to let the kids select a few books to check out, lending them ownership and building excitement.” —Heather Hawkins

 

10. Nurture their love for reading by demonstrating your own

“Let them see you enjoying a book, and keep books accessible all around the house. Studies confirm that the number of books parents have in the home is correlated to the level of education their children will attain.” —Heather Hawkins

Reading-for-Pleasure

 

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Thank you to all of our experts for the great tips to get your child excited about reading. Now all you need is the books! Browse our website to find your child’s next favorite book, and take 25% off (plus free shipping!) with the code BOOKDUJOUR.

Featured image by Heather Hawkins of Tiny Readers

Lara Starr

Lara Starr is Chronicle’s Senior Publicist for Children’s books, and the author of Wookiee Pies, Clone Scones and other Galactic Goodies, Ice Sabers, The Very Hungry Caterpillar™ Cookbook and Cookie Cutters Kit, and Chef Olivia™. Tell her you like her sweater and she’ll tell you exactly what she paid for it.
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