Raising a Reader

There are a lot of blogs and websites out there that talk about raising a reader, but as a librarian with a book-loving toddler, I thought I'd add my own advice.

  1. BE a reader.  This is the most important one.  You cannot expect that your child will be a reader  if you aren't.  As the old saying goes, Values are caught, not taught.  This is especially true with reading, and it can't be faked.  Your love of reading will come through in every book you read with your child, and your child will see it and learn it.  
  2. Have lots of books.  This one seems a bit obvious, but it's important.  And not just children's books - that goes back to number 1 - your kid needs to see lots of different books about many different topics.  
  3. Read to your child every day.  The easiest way to do this is to make reading a part of your bedtime routine.  However, anytime your child brings you a book, read it for goodness' sake!  
  4. Reread.  And reread and reread and reread!  Seriously, you might have to read the same book fifteen times in a row every day for a week.  Although it seems incredibly repetitive to you, your child is learning something new with every reading.  Embrace the repetition.  
  5. Do more with your books.  Let your child play with their books in non-reading ways.  Maybe they want to stack them or sort them, or lay them all out side-by-side on the floor.  Let them explore their books in their own way. 
  6. Let them read e-books.  This might be controversial, but your child will be a digital native.  They will need to be literate in all forms of technology.  To keep it from them just doesn't seem fair.  All things in balance, of course, but I think kids need to experience ALL types of reading.  
  7. Have books on topics that your child likes.  If your kid likes cars, have lots of books about cars, if he or she likes animals, lots about animals.  
  8. BUT provide variety!  If you don't provide books about different subjects, they may never find their next "favorite thing"!  Provide plenty of fiction and nonfiction choices.
  9. Don't force it.  Sometimes we read the whole book, sometimes we only get through the first few pages before we are moving on to another book or done altogether.  Don't get too caught up in how you think you SHOULD be reading.  
  10. No rules!  Okay, so maybe there are some rules.  In our house, the only two rules with books are (1) Don't tear pages on purpose and (2) Put the books back on the shelf when you are done.  Other than that, there are no rules.  

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