This is an easy to read and idea-filled book geared toward parents who want to install a love of reading in their children. It’s not so much about how to teach your child to read as it is about how to help your child become someone passionate about books. As such, it is filled with advice around creating a culture of books and reading in your family. Simple things like giving books as gifts, curating a family library, and packing books on vacation. It starts from infancy and takes you right through to the teen years, a time when many voracious readers seem to falter. It’s also filled with book recommendations from the very earliest baby books to stories to transition teens into adult readers. I’ll admit I skimmed over the teen years chapters because that all seems very far away for me as a mom of a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old. But when I mentioned the book to my sister-in-law, a mom of two teens and a pre-teen, she said that there are not many books or lists that cover those later years so I think this is a book that can be helpful to parents of all ages.
Probably the main issue with a book like this is that if you are someone interested in reading it, you are probably already someone doing a lot of these things with your kids. My interest was piqued after seeing How to Raise a Reader in the bookstore and then reading Anne’s review over at I’ve Read This (her kids are similar in age to mine). Like Anne, I also enjoy reading parenting books that tell me to do what I’m already doing. I’ve been reading aloud to my kids since they were days old. I spent hours with Pearl, reading aloud from both kids books and my own books. Almost every book I read in 2015 was at least partially read aloud to Pearl. Rose probably heard fewer adult books but a lot more children’s books. Some of my most vivid memories of the end of 2017 sitting on the bathroom floor, nursing a newborn Rose, and reading a story out loud while potty-training Pearl. Reading to my kids is maybe the part of parenting that comes most naturally to me. Luckily for me, it’s also one of the most beneficial things you can do as a parent!
So while there wasn’t a lot of new information here for me, it still felt beneficial to be reminded of the importance of what we’re already doing in our family. Pearl is now in kindergarten and learning to read on her own. Storytime before bed now often includes her reading to us as well as us reading to her. Sometimes Rose joins in too with a book she has memorized!
I also really enjoyed reading the lists of book recommendations that Paul and Russo provide. Each chapter ends with a list suited for that age group and at the end of the book there are longer lists grouped according to age, interest, and genre. Despite the fact that I have years of both reading experience and bookstore experience, I often find myself blanking in the children’s section of the library, unsure what to borrow for the week. Of course I let the girls make their own choices but I usually fall back on my childhood favourites. So it’s nice to have some up-to-date book ideas to bring home.
This book would make a great baby shower gift and is a useful read for any parent. And if you’re a parent reading here, you’re probably easily convinced that this is a book for you!