Toolkit to Raise a Reader at Home

Reading has had a huge impact on my own life. I’ve had my world expanded by reading. Reading not only enhances a child’s academic performance and cognitive development, but even more importantly, reading is simply one of life’s most enriching and edifying activities.

Keep a well-stocked home library. When I read the biographies of eminent personalities, who were voracious readers, so many of them talk about growing up in households that were filled with books. It’s not only that keeping a home library allows your kid access to lots of books, the library also acts as a potent signal that reading is important to you as parents, and is an important aspect of your family culture. This is one of the reasons paper handbook libraries are far more superior and impactful than digital libraries in kindle. Of course, a home library isn’t going to have a big effect, if its books are merely decorative, and your kids never see you actually opening them.

Be a reader yourself. Your kids are always watching you. They’re more likely to do what you do than do what you say. So set an example for them and be a reader yourself. Let your kids catch you reading. I am grateful to my grandparents for many things but specially thankful for them being readers. Growing up I always saw them reading. Many times reading to each other. And Mom would read many books to them as they aged. They never lectured my sister and me to read, but we all followed their lead and read ourselves.

Read out loud to them when they’re little (and beyond). Just because your kids are too young to read themselves, doesn’t mean you can’t start inculcating the reading habit in them. Read out loud to your kids when they are little. It will set a practice for them that reading is as much a part of life’s routine, like brushing your teeth and having your meals. Even when your kids are old enough to read on their own, keep reading aloud to them. It’s a great way to spend time with your kids, and it reinforces the idea that reading is just something you do in your family.

Let your kids read what they want. Some parents (ofcourse with good intention) have this idea that if their kids are going to be readers, then they’re only going to read the Great Books or only the classics of children’s literature. So they put their kids on some reading program and make their children slog through books they have no interest in. That’s a great way to turn your kids into non-readers. Instead, let your kids read whatever they want…that’s age-appropriate. You want them to learn to enjoy reading.

Buy your kids’ books in abundance. When we go to shopping malls, we more often take them to the bookstore and let them pick books of their choice which we then buy for them. There seems to be something about buying a book for your kids that gets them more pumped into reading it. I’m guessing it’s the dopamine that comes with buying stuff. Buying books also helps your children build their own home library.

From my experience, books are the most value added purchase that will give your kids hours of entertainment, all sorts of cognitive, emotional, and academic benefits, and another nudge along the path to becoming lifelong readers.

May 1, 2022

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