8 Ways to Raise a Reader

Pile of open books

Suddenly find yourself homeschooling the kids? Reading is a critical skill and we’re here to help with tips and inspiration.


Nooks, Bookshelves & Unplugged Fun

According to a recent study by The Ohio State University, young children whose parents or caregivers read to them enter kindergarten better prepared and are more likely to acquire literacy skills quickly. Reading a child five books a day translates into kindergarteners who have heard approximately 1.4 million more words than non-read-to classmates. Even reading one book a day exposes little ones to additional hundreds of thousands of new words by kindergarten. (The Ohio State University News, April 4, 2019)

And, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and more notable research institutions, the importance of reading never ends. Keeping kids reading throughout their school years helps improve vocabulary, test scores and communication skills. Beyond this, reading has lifelong benefits, enhancing empathy, rationality, creativity and brain function. So, just like encouraging healthy diet and exercise, getting kids on the right track with reading is important. It can also be fun!

Bring on the reads (and the smiles) with 8 Ways to Raise a Reader tips.

ONE: Set the scene. Like toys and clothes, books need a tidy home. Bookshelves are affordable and available in designs and sizes to fit any space, and DIY bookshelf instructions abound online.

TWO: Shop together for books to fill their shelves – and set a great example by choosing a read for yourself, too.

THREE: Celebrate successes — like “reading” a picture book aloud to you or finishing a chapter book or novel — with smiles and hi-fives.

Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.

– Frederick Douglass

FOUR: Treat reading as a fun option, just like painting a picture or tossing a baseball. And make a game of shelving titles by size, cover color or image, favorites-first or another system of your choosing.

FIVE: Support your child’s reading interests with toys and games to encourage STEAM learning. Incorporate story-related crafts, such as making colorful bookmarks, dioramas and themed journals.

SIX: Share books to create community. Post excerpts of book reviews by your child on safe family social media pages. Invite your child to pass along great reads to friends or (when manageable) donate them to a library or shelter.

If a book is well-written, I always find it too short.

– Jane Austen

SEVEN: Create a cozy reading nook near you. It can be as simple as choosing a special throw pillow or a reading lamp for the den or family room, or giving little ones some reachable space on your home office or kitchen bookshelf. Get some extra bookshelf-decorating tips here.

EIGHT: Read with your child: news headlines, recipes or even just a page or two from one of your favorite books. Like riding a bike or completing a puzzle, reading is most successfully learned by doing — and lovingly, joyfully learned by doing it with you.

Mother and daughter doing a craft together
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