Mom’s Secret Recipe for Raising a Reader

 Mom’s Secret Recipe for Raising a Reader

child reading 2 small

Yield: One lifelong reader, curious about life, eager to learn, successful in school


  • As many age-appropriate books as the child can consume (these will change as the recipe is followed—a typical progression begins with board books and picture books, then short story books {with lots of pictures}, longer story books, chapter books, comic books, magazines, full-length novels and nonfiction).
  • Your own love of reading (or appreciation for the value of reading)
  • Overflowing amounts of patience (for reading the same story 10 times a day, 100 days straight)
  • One public library card
  • A bottomless scoop of fun
  • An “off” switch for electronics (except e-readers)
  • Dedicated daily reading time


Begin reading to child at birth. Do not stop until absolutely forced to do so by child. Even after that, whenever possible read aloud from books, newspapers, letters, magazines, emails.

Read to child every day. Repeat.

Make books as accessible to child as are toys, games, and other amusements; books and reading should be presented on equal footing with other activities.

Visit public library weekly. Repeat.

At library, let child pick out his or her own books. Do not interfere. Enlist librarian to help direct child to age-appropriate books that appeal to child’s interests. (If child is drawn to books with adult themes, interference may be warranted, but generally, if a book is beyond a child’s emotional or intellectual capacity, child will soon get bored with book).

Let child see you read (preferably hard copy books so child knows you are reading and not playing games on your device).

Point out printed words everywhere you see them. Read signs and labels aloud to child.

Talk to child about books. While reading to younger children, ask “What do you think will happen next?” or “What do you think is going on in this picture?” For older children, ask which character the child would most like to be or what the main conflict is. For all children, ask what drew them to that book.

After 18+ years: Release one well-rounded, well-read, independent thinker into the world.