How to Raise a Reader
The family of a former student reached out to me recently with a dilemma: Although their oldest child was a voracious reader, their youngest child didn’t seem to be interested in books at all.
The parents wondered if I might “work my magic” on their youngest child, to ignite the spark that would eventually become a raging fire for books.
As flattered as I am to be credited with this power, the secret to turning reluctant readers into book lovers is not magic.
Here is my tried-and-true recipe for raising a reader:
- Talk about books and authors. Ask about what your child is reading, tell him about what you’re reading.
- Make regular trips to the library and/or bookstore. Get to know your local children’s librarian and bookseller; they have all the best recommendations.
- Give books as gifts for birthdays and holidays.
- Help your kiddo establish a daily reading habit: Pick a time that works best and find a cozy, inviting place to read that your child adores.
- Read aloud to your child. They are not too old. Reading aloud to your kid every night sends a big message about the value you place on books.
Above all, BE a reader yourself. Let your child see you with a physical book in your hand. Not an e-reader, a tablet, or a phone, but a good, old-fashioned book.
And if you aren’t already a reader, feel free to use the not-so-magic recipe above on yourself. Happy reading!
Media Literacy Teacher
Resources for Raising Readers:
- Common Sense Media’s New Children’s Books 2018
- With book summaries and suggested talking points for families, this list is a great source of books for reading aloud and gift-giving for ages 2-12.
- Some the Wiser’s Top Family Read Aloud Books (Ages 5-12)
- A curated list of one family’s favorites. Great for families looking for a read-aloud that works for a range of ages.
- Reading Rockets’ Top 10 Resources on Reading Motivation
- A useful collection of articles on reading motivation, for parents and teachers.
About Gillispie School: Gillispie is an independent toddler through Grade 6 school in La Jolla, CA. We believe that learning is a journey in which children are active participants. Our students partner with teachers to further their academic, creative, and social growth, and we balance a child-centered approach that does not rush childhood with well-researched academic programs that demand higher-level thinking. Click here to learn more about our school.