How To Raise A Kid Who Loves To Read (And Why It Matters)

The benefits of raising a child who loves to read can’t be overstated. Reading with children provides a nearly incomparable opportunity for quiet bonding time. Research also shows kids who learn to love reading at a young age tend to be more motivated, read more and show greater language and literacy development later in life.

Some kids might seem to be born with their noses in books, but the good news is that any child can learn to love reading. Parents and grandparents play a significant role in whether children fall in love with reading, and if you aren’t already, you can start taking steps immediately to ensure you’re raising a kid who loves to read.

Because all children deserve the opportunity to learn to love reading, the Scripps Howard Foundation has launched a literacy campaign called “If You Give a Child a Book” in partnership with Scholastic Book Fairs, The E.W. Scripps Company and its employees, the communities it serves and Scripps family members. The foundation has already given away 500,000 books and will distribute its millionth book during the 2022-2023 school year.

Partnering with Title 1 schools, the Fund aims to give each student 10 age-appropriate and culturally relevant books per year, helping impoverished, underserved, vulnerable children build home libraries. Experts say reading 10 books a year improves a child’s reading skills. This year’s campaign runs through Sept. 9, and you can help by donating online.

Here’s what you can start doing today to raise an avid reader.

1. Start Reading When They’re Small

Reading to your child from birth has numerous benefits. Books teach babies about communication, introduce several educational concepts and build their vocabularies, for starters.

Children reading a book on the floor
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2. Read Books Daily

Reading for 20 minutes a day will help your child prepare for school, be more successful and learn how entertaining books can be.

Father reads a book to his son on family room floor
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3. Have Reading Material At The Ready For Kids

Kids with access to books and other reading material (from comic books to magazines and newspapers) are likelier to read and learn to enjoy the pastime.

Child reads book with bookshelves in background
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4. Set An Example

You are your child’s first and most significant role model. When you read for entertainment and edification, your kids glean that reading is important and enjoyable.

Woman Reading at home
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5. Love The Library

Children can choose from countless titles at the local library, opening them up to a world of wonderful books. They can also use the numerous tools, activities and additional benefits of a library card.

Schoolgirls looking for books in library
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6. Let Kids Choose Their Books

You can find books on virtually any subject, making it possible to discover titles your child will surely enjoy. Research shows that kids who have access to books and can choose their own reading materials are more motivated to read and have more developed reading skills.

Group Of Children Reading books On Window Seat
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7. Talk About Tales

Discuss the characters and elements of a book while you are reading together and after you have finished. Talking about books shows the value you place on them and helps with reading comprehension.

Parent and child read a book together
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8. Make Reading Time Special

Kids crave their parents’ undivided attention. When you read to your child, put everything else aside and focus on your relationship and the story. Your little one will see reading as a meaningful activity they will carry on for a lifetime.

Mom reads to two young girls
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What tips do you have for raising a child who loves to read?

Simplemost — in partnership with our audiences, our parent company, The E.W. Scripps Company, and the Scripps Howard Foundation — is helping to put books into the hands of kids who need them most as part of the 2022 “If You Give A Child A Book …” campaign. To give, you can make a donation here. To date, the Scripps Howard Foundation has donated over 500,000 books to kids in need, and the foundation will distribute its 1 millionth book during the 2022-2023 school year.