The SundayPost: How to Raise a Reader 101

How to Raise A Reader 101



Today on The SundayPost, I am sharing the page with Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. A blog I absolutely ADORE!  As a  mom of two daughters and an avid reader, I connected with Renee immediately. I highly recommend that you check out her blog and find some great books to share with your children.


 About Renee: I am so pleased be have been asked by Raven here at Ms. MommyHH6 to contribute a guest post on her fabulous website.  To introduce myself, I am Renee and I blog over at Mother Daughter Book Reviews  with my two kids, Danielle (9 years old) and my son Dominic (almost 6 years old).  We read all kinds of children’s books and then share with our readers what we think of them.  Sometimes we agree – sometimes we don’t! ;-)

How to Raise a Reader 101

I am an avid reader.  My husband is not.  My brother tried buying my husband a book once to provide some encouragement.  Perhaps choosing Wilbur Smith’s 774 page tome, Birds of Prey may not have been the wisest of choices, but the point is that some people read and some people don’t.  I know…hard to believe, isn’t it?

Yet, in our household, we have two children – my 5 year-old son and my 9 year-old daughter – who live, breathe, and eat books.  Ok, maybe they don’t eat books (anymore) but I am fortunate to have two children who have inherited my love of books and reading.

Is love of reading a genetic trait or is it something shaped by the environment.  Well, I’m not here to argue one side or the other.  What I can do is share with you some of the basic principles we adhere to in our house and some of things we did to encourage a love of reading in our children.  And yes, I do mean WE – my husband has read many, some, a few books with the children as well.


1. Place a High Value on Books and Reading

I know this may seem intuitive, but I knew that when I had children I wanted to instill the love of reading in them.  I started building their library before they were born.  When my kids were little, our regular outings consisted of going to the local bookstore or the library.  If books and reading are not important to you, they most certainly will not be to them.

What You Can Do:

  • Make reading charts for your children when they start to read.
  • Use books as a reward for good behaviour.
  • Never punish your kids by withdrawing books or reading time.


2. Make Reading Part of Your Regular Routine

Call me crazy (not to my face), but I read to my babies days after they were born. I did this religiously before their bedtime.  They may not have had a clue as to why the nice lady holding them wouldn’t be quiet while they were trying to get to sleep, but I like to think that the mere sound of my voice reading soft, rhyming verse soothed them before bedtime. Fast forward 9 years, 5 months, and 3 days, I still read to both my children before bedtime.  That is the time of day we all look forward to the most.

What You Can Do:

  • It is NEVER too early to start, commit to reading an age appropriate book to your children EVERY DAY before bedtime even if it’s for 5 minutes (you will not regret it).


3. Let Your Kids See You Reading

As parents, we are our children’s role models.  Much to our chagrin (sometimes), our children will emulate our behaviour. Generally, I do most of my own reading before bedtime so my children don’t see that, but I also arm myself with a book when I take them to the park, when we go to the doctor’s office, when we are waiting at an airport, and so on.  It provides me with ammunition when they approach me to say “I’m bored”.  Uh…pick up a book, what do you think I do?!

What You Can Do:

  • Pick up a magazine in the grocery check-out line and read a bit while you are waiting.
  • Bring a book when you know you are in for a wait.
  • Subscribe to a newspaper or magazine and flip through it when you have a few moments.


4. Have Books in Your House

A 2009 survey of young people by the National Literacy Trust in the United Kingdom revealed a direct and significant correlation between access to books at home and literacy.  Specifically, the study found that 80% of children who read above the expected level for their age had access to books at home.  In contrast, only 58% of children reading below their expected level had books at home.  Researchers at the University of Nevada similarly reported a correlation between the number of books in the home and educational attainment:  the more books, the higher the education.

What You Can Do:

  • Go to your local library on a regular basis.
  • Head on over to your local second-hand bookstore.
  • Coordinate book swaps with other families.
  • Scour neighborhood yard and garage sales – they are a great source of gently used books.


5. Discuss Books and Stories

You could just blankly read books to your children, but where is the fun in that?  We always discuss or comment on the books we read (and not just for our website) – - even if it’s to say “Isn’t he such a cute fluffy ducky?”  I also tend to be quite critical.  Often I blurt out “This part makes no sense” and then I’ll explain why it doesn’t make sense.  Discussing what we read is a fun part of what we do.  I’ll also comment on some of the adult books that I’m reading and tell my family what I like and don’t like about a particular book.  The idea is that the children get engaged in the story and are thoughtful when reading and/or looking at books.

What You Can Do:

  • When reading illustrated books to very young children, point to the pictures and make comments as you are reading.
  • When you finish reading a chapter or book to your children, ask them “What do you think about that?”  Then, tell them what you think.
  • Do a running commentary while you read (but not so much that it interrupts the flow).
  • From time-to-time, ask your independent readers about what they are reading.
  • Share with your children the stories from some of the adult fiction you are reading.


6. Use Your Local Library

Your local library will go the way of the dinosaur if you don’t use it.  I got library cards for my kids when they were babies (you’re not surprised by that, are you?)  I actually have a very good reason and it’s called “No Late Fees”.  Our local library just happens to have an understanding of how it actually works in households where there are young children.  A library book can go missing for months because it slid under the couch or my son decided that sliding it under his mattress would be a good idea.  Or, a book (or more likely, a stack of books) is due and you really truly intended to go to the library to return it/them, but little Johnnie got sick with the flu and you couldn’t leave your house for a week. You get the picture.  The library also has a number of programs including reading circles and summer reading clubs.  But the beauty of the library really is that you can turn the children loose and they can choose the books that THEY like (i.e., fairies and kittens for my daughter and dinosaurs and zombies for my son).

What You Can Do:

  • Get library cards for your children.
  • Go to the library at least once per week and explore their programs.
  • Explore some great non-fiction titles.
  • Let your kids choose the books.


I’ve now revealed my secrets to you.  I’m not suggesting that there is a magic formula for churning out readers, but at the end of the day it is up to YOU to prioritize reading in your children’s lives.  With the distractions of T.V., video games, and the internet, children will only want to read if they are immersed in an environment that is book and reading friendly.  I’d love to hear your feedback on this post and would love for you to share your thoughts with me.  Be sure to pop on by at

Thank you to Renee for her wonderful tips!  Reading is so important and raising a reader even more so. Please stop by her blog and leave some love. Tell her I sent ya!

What are YOUR tips for raising a reader?

Live, Love & Learn,

Ms. MommyHH6



  1. Karen @ BakingInATornado says:

    LOVE Renee and what she does to advocate that we all stop and think about how important (and fun) reading with our kids is. My kids are older, but I did many of these things with them when they were little. My only regret is that I hadn’t found Renee 10 years ago to have given me ALL of her advice.

  2. Leanne says:

    Great tips here, thanks!

  3. Leanna @ Alldonemonkey says:

    These are such great tips! It is no accident that some kids are really turned onto reading and some aren’t. Thanks for sharing at the Kid Lit Blog Hop! I’ll be featuring this on my Facebook page later today! (
    Leanna @ Alldonemonkey recently posted..Homemade Costume Blog Parade!My Profile

  4. Leanna @ Alldonemonkey says:

    What great tips! It is no accident that some kids are readers and some aren’t. Thanks for sharing at the Kid Lit Blog Hop! Will be featuring your post on my Facebook page later today (
    Leanna @ Alldonemonkey recently posted..Homemade Costume Blog Parade!My Profile

  5. Adriana Blake says:

    It is wonderful to see and hear kids enjoying books! I always did, and still do. I read voraciously. Glad you linked in to the Kid Lit Blog Hop!


  1. [...] To read the rest of this post, please visit Ms. MommyHH6. * Share Tags: children's books, children's literacy, guest post, HH6 & You, literacy, [...]

  2. [...] I’d like to introduce you to Raven aka Ms. MommyHH6.  I’m pretty excited to have Raven as guest reviewer because I did a guest post over at her fabulous website a couple of months ago for her weekly feature, The Sunday Post. Here is the article I wrote in case you missed it:  How to Raise a Reader 101. [...]

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