raise a book lover - Boston Moms Blog

Tomorrow, March 2, is Dr. Seuss’s birthday and Read Across America Day! Some of my fondest childhood memories include listening to stories read aloud, especially at school. It was a quiet, calm break from the busy day. I learned to love reading.

Then something happened around middle school — my love of reading dwindled. I was bored by many of the books I was assigned and frustrated because they were difficult for me. I began to see reading as a chore and no longer an enjoyable activity. Luckily, as an adult, my love for reading resurfaced, and it’s once again a calming presence in my busy life. During my years of teaching and parenting, reading has taken on new meaning.

I want to pass on my love of books to my children. Here are five ways to raise a book lover.

Start early

My husband and I began reading to our children shortly after they were born. Books have been a part of their lives from the beginning; there’s rarely a day that goes by that we don’t read together. Reading has become a nightly habit to wind down, and there is comfort associated with that routine. It is a bonding time that my children expect and enjoy. Even when they were too young to understand the words, the sounds of our voices and the closeness was a comfort connected with reading. According to research from the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who are read to, especially before starting school, experience stronger parent-child relationships and learn language and literacy skills. By reading to your young children, you are helping set them up for success in school.

Let them choose

When I lost control of my reading choices, I also lost my love for reading. Children need to have some choice in what they read. They will be more engaged in a book of their own choice and more excited to read it. Take them to the children’s section of the library and let them choose what they want — without criticism (as painful as that can be at times). I personally don’t love reading “Dog Man,” but I do it for my son. If you have a 6-year-old boy, you probably know what I’m talking about! My son was getting frustrated trying to learn to read, and “Dog Man” was the first book he got excited about (he even chose to use his Target gift card to get the newest book instead of a Bruins jersey… after only an hour of deliberation).

Be a role model

Let your children see you reading. It can be hard to put down the phone and pick up a book or leave the laundry for later (OK, maybe that’s not too hard). I know you may be interrupted 100 times and it may take an hour to get through a page, but it’s worth a try. Our children, especially when they are little, want to do what we do. If they see us reading for enjoyment, they will see it as something fun and want to do it too.

Don’t stop reading aloud

Often, when children get old enough to read to themselves, adults stop reading to them. I can remember the joy I felt when my teacher read “Charlotte’s Web” to our class in third grade. I know I would have continued to enjoy being read to in middle school and even high school. Heck, that sounds pretty good right now (story time for adults at the library with wine and snacks?). Also, a book may be above your child’s current independent reading ability, but that doesn’t mean he or she can’t comprehend and enjoy it (“Harry Potter,” for example).

Give books as gifts

Give books to your children as birthday gifts, holiday gifts, or rewards. Have them pick out books for others based on what the person would enjoy. This way, they begin to see books as items to be treasured. You can read a book again and again, and it’s never the wrong size!

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss



Ranessa Doucet
Ranessa is a Boston native who grew up in Charlestown and never gets tired of exploring the city. She now lives north of Boston with her husband, two kids, and two mischievous pugs. Ranessa earned her master’s degree in elementary education and licensure in early childhood education. She currently works as an Academic Interventionist and Freelance Writer. Ranessa loves writing about parenting tweens, exploring New England, health, and self-care. When not writing or reading, you can find her watching reality TV, eating chocolate, attending her kids’ sporting events, and dreaming about the beach.


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