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How to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read

How to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - January 15th, 2018

Today we welcome guest author, Katie Haney, a St. Louis mom, who shares her love of reading with her children…and with us.  You’ll love these great tips from Katie, so you can ensure your child loves to read, too!

A popular saying is “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”  The same phrase applies to raising a reader.  The moment you decide your child will be a reader, the resources that you have at your fingertips become known.


Reading while pregnant and reading books aloud can establish a routine habit that may very well continue after the baby is born.  In our home, the whole family read before bed and that established a bedtime reading routine for life. Since the kids regularly see us read, they often bring books to parties, gatherings, and other places where a long car ride is necessary.


The library is a treasure of resources for community events, entertainment, and of course books.  Our son got his first library card when he turned six, and his four year old sister got one at the same time. One of the perks of the kids’ library cards is there are no late fees on books. They love finding books at the library to check out on their own card.


Having newspapers and magazines around the home can help encourage children to read.  I have a daily subscription to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and a Sunday subscription to the New York Times.  When my son was four he began to ask for the comics section to read. One time I glanced back in the rearview mirror of the car and his face was buried in the comics.


Giving books as gifts is a great way to establish love and respect for reading.  The kids pick out books to give their friends for birthday parties.  Our son’s school has the kids check out a book from the library every Thursday. It then has to be returned the next Thursday in order for them to receive another book.  My son keeps careful track of that book all week so he can get another one.


Bookstores can also be a phenomenal resource for kids. The local independent bookstore by our house holds story time every Saturday morning.  We started taking our son when he was a newborn, and he still attends regularly at age seven.  We have listened to books being read, colored pictures, met local and national authors, and wrote our own books at story time.  Saturday morning story time is usually where we do our shopping for birthdays and holidays.


Never underestimate what a child can understand from what he or she reads.   We read adult books to the kids every night.  We are almost finished with The Never Ending Story and they have completed Chronicles of Narnia, Girl Who Drank the Moon, Wrinkle in Time, Wind in the Door, Swiftly Tilting Planet, and George’s Secret Key to the Universe. 


School book order day is an exciting day! It is always fun to see what the new subject interest is – princess, Pokemon, Star Wars, you name it.  It is continually changing.


Finally, a phenomenal resource of great books to read has been New York Public Library’s 100 great books list (  I request a few at a time from the library, so we always have a few from this list on hand.


The main way to make sure your child loves to read is to love reading yourself.  You don’t have to look far to find reading resources for you and your child.

Katie earned her bachelors of science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from St Louis University and completed post-graduate work at Yale in nutrition and is a registered dietitian. When she’s not running her business, you can find her running marathons, playing ultimate frisbee, making the St. Louis community an even better place to live or hanging out with her husband Mike, 7 year old son and 4 year old daughter. If you’d like to read more from Katie, follow her website here.

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