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How To Raise a Reader

by on September 11, 2017

Working at a public library, I’ve had many parents ask how they can help their children learn to read. It’s an important question, but it’s a layered question as well. For starters, the advice I give parents is to first teach their children to love reading. When they look for the reading levels they’ve been directed to by their schools, I make sure they also pay attention to the topic of the books. It’s going to be a hard sell if the child isn’t interested in the book. A good start, but there’s so much more that goes into it. How do we teach children not only to read, but to enjoy it and continue it for a life-time?

The editors at The New York Times Book Review, a weekly paper magazine, created a wonderful guide for parents looking for that answer, “How to Raise a Reader.” Editor Pamela Paul, and Children’s Book Editor Maria Russo offer easy-to-follow steps for parents and caregivers as well numerous book recommendations for ages birth-teen. The guide also features fun illustrations by Dan Yaccarino to bring it to life (much like illustrations in children’s books). Russo said the spirit of the guide is “encourage your children to read all kinds of books, in all kinds of places, and to talk about them and share their enthusiasm.”[1]

The guide starts from the beginning: “Baby Books are a Necessity.” It touches on all the important stages: keeping them interested as toddlers and pre-schoolers; working with reluctant readers (and not worrying so much about exactly when a child learns to read); and making sure children see their parents reading regularly. It hits hard on the importance of libraries in the process. The guide suggests “regular trips to the library (even better as a family) to keep a constant stream of new and intriguing books around your house.” It further describes libraries as indispensable resources as they offer storytelling hours, author visits, community events for the whole family, and free computer access with kid-friendly games.

We hit hard on Every Child Ready to Read 2.0 in our library, and this guide gives more ideas for school-age reading to add to your librarian arsenal. What other guides/advice do you use with patrons looking to raise readers?


  1. The New York Times, Times Insider, “Want to Raise Your Child to Love Reading? Read These Secrets” by Maria Russo, June 29, 2017.

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