Jan / 18

Raising A Reader

By / Jessica Leake / 4

As a writer, I think it’s a requirement to also love books. The way they take you away to another place, the way they make you realize things about your life you never thought of, the multitude of emotions they can evoke.bibliophile

I’ve loved books since I was little. My parents are voracious readers, and this obsession was passed on to me. My husband spends a lot of time reading–he stays up late reading my Kindle long after I’ve gone to sleep. So with two huge book enthusiasts, I always hoped our children would be, too.

Anson, our 19-month-old, LOVES books. Sometimes he’ll choose perusing new books over playing. He attends Mothers’ Day Out two days a week, and yesterday when I brought him, he made a beeline for the new set of bookshelves the teacher had. He picked out a book on trucks and sat in the little chair next to the books, totally content. It completely melted my heart!!

IMAG0035How did he become such a dedicated bibliophile? I think it’s probably a combination of genes, personality, and pretty much forcing books on him at a young age. Now that I have a four-month-old, too, I’m having to start the process over again to raise another reader.

Here are a few of the things I’ve found to be effective in increasing a baby’s interest in books:Ansonreading


  • Read to them–even the thriller you’re reading. They’ll quickly become addicted to hearing your voice.
  • Make soft books a favorite toy by taking them along with your baby everywhere–the car, church, the doctor’s office, etc.
  • Books with lots of tactile features–pop-ups or touch & feel books are always a favorite for a curious baby.
  • Once your baby or toddler grows older and starts showing a preference for certain things or characters (cars, Mickey Mouse, dogs, animals, etc)–buy books featuring those things. Anson loves pointing out the “doggies” in his books, or reading about “vroom-vrooms” (cars).
  • Look-and-find books are also great. Anson has a few that he just loves. Before he was talking as much as he is now, he would point out objects as we said them–awesome learning tool, and they really just enjoy looking at all the pictures!
  • Make it a part of their night-time routine early. Anson’s routine is: bath, brush his teeth, snuggle up to read a book (or five…or the same one five times), prayers, bed

    Don’t worry. There’s another bookcase to fill after this one!

  • Basically, push books on them any chance you get! Make them available to them from the very beginning by having low bookshelves in their rooms so they have easy access. Anson’s favorite game for the longest time was pulling every single book off the shelves and throwing them on the floor. Books are his toys, and he loves them as much as his little basketball hoop.


Any other tips?

Comment (4)
  • Carol Leake / January 18, 2013, 10:04 pm  

    Jessica, what wonderful advice. I couldn’t agree more!

    • Jessica / January 19, 2013, 9:18 am  

      Thank you! He’s such a sweet boy 🙂

  • Mandie Baxter / January 19, 2013, 7:59 am  

    Both my parents were readers and I’ve been as long as I can remember. Reading 3000 pages per six weeks in middle school instead of the 300. Book nerd at heart!

    My kiddo has never seen me without books. I didn’t read as much as I’d like during and after college but got back to it slowly. When kiddo was crawling age I’d lay on his floor with a book and read, often out loud. No matter the book, he couldn’t understand it. And I did that until he could start to understand. I’ve also made sure he always has books of his own since he was a baby and we read those, most every night. He started VPK at a new school in Mid Oct and we’ve read 85 books since then. I remember his first day at day care, just before he was 2, he went in, got a book, sat down in a chair and kids sat around him and he “read” to them.

    Another thing I’m doing now is if there’s a book we’ve read a lot I’ll let him “read it” to me.

    Oh, and I’m a big fan of funny voices when I read. 😉

    • Jessica / January 19, 2013, 9:17 am  

      Mandie, those are some great suggestions!! I love the “letting him read to you” and the “funny voices” ones especially :). I think what you said at the beginning is important, too–to always read around your kids. I think that really helps, too. They love to mimic us, so if we read, they’ll read!

      You’ve done well turning your kiddo into a total bibliophile–85 books! Amazing. And that’s so cute about his first day at daycare! Sweet boy.