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Gillispie School / Early Childhood  / How to Raise a Reader

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!


Heidi Long
Media Literacy Teacher

Resources for Raising Readers:


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.

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