Parenting 101 – How to Raise a Reader

In 2021, over 21% of adult Americans cannot read. Over half of them cannot read above a 6th grade level. 

Even though our country offers free public education to children, there is a disconnect between school and literacy. There are many reasons for this shocking statistic, but one that really stands out to me is that reading has been associated with learning – and many children struggle at school. Of those who are doing well, many would prefer spending their free time socializing or on a device, rather than reading. 

Reading has become synonymous with boring or people find the activity to be difficult. As a parent, one of the best ways to ensure your child becomes intelligent and successful is to raise a reader. Readers tend to focus more on their own personal development and growth, are more likely to be employed full-time, they tend to be more driven, and are often high-achievers.

Also, check out this list of physical and mental benefits of reading.

We all want the best for our children and, it appears, promoting reading is one of the ways to achieve that outcome.

Here are some ideas to help you raise a lover of books:

Start Young

Once a child enters school, they should already have a history with books. The best way to encourage your child and raise a reader is to give them books when they are young. Reading aloud is a great activity and needs to be nurtured often. 

Role-modeling Behavior

Children, especially young children, are more likely to model the behavior of the people around them. If you are relying on your child’s teacher to inspire a love of reading, but no one actually spends any leisure time at home with a book then it’s less likely your child will see the appeal. 

Create the Environment

Obviously, the best way to ensure your child reads more often is to intentionally create an environment that promotes the activity. There should be books to choose from around the home, quiet, reading nooks available, and invite family to give your child books as gifts.

Make it Part of Your Family Traditions

It’s becoming more common for new moms to request books at a baby shower to start their child off with a good little library of choices. You can also request that friends and family give your child books as birthday and holiday presents.

In Iceland, they celebrate Jolabokaflod on Christmas Eve which is, basically, the tradition of giving each other a book to enjoy the night before Santa’s arrival. Hygge, the Norwegian term for creating a comfortable winter, is often symbolized by cozy socks, a warm fire, a hot beverage, and a book. 

However you chose to celebrate, find ways to make reading part of your family traditions.

Make it Fun

Frequent trips to the local bookstore or library will help your child understand that reading can be fun. Not only reserved for learning at school, but reading can also be an adventure, an event, or an activity. Bookstores and libraries host events every month to encourage children to come to their location and engage with books. 

By starting early and creating a culture of reading at home, you increase your child’s chance of becoming an avid reader later in life. 


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