Research shows that reading to children and discussing the book as you read is the single best way to increase your child’s IQ. When children love to read, they choose to read independently, become better readers, score higher on achievement tests in all subject areas, and have greater content knowledge than those who don’t.* School performance correlates more directly with children’s reading scores than any other single indicator.

Reading is necessary for learning, so instilling a love of reading at an early age is the key that unlocks the door to lifelong learning.

Children develop literacy skills and an awareness of language long before they are able to read. Since language development is fundamental to all areas of learning, skills developed early in life can help set the stage for later school success. By reading aloud to young children, parents help them acquire the skills they will need to be ready for school. Shared parent-child book reading during children’s preschool years leads to higher reading achievement in elementary school, as well as greater enthusiasm for reading and learning. Young children who are frequently read to have a larger vocabulary, higher levels of phonological, letter name, and sound awareness, and better success at decoding words.

1. Read to your child from the earliest age.

Regardless of the time of day. Buy board books and cloth books as some of your child’s first toys. Create “cozy time,” a ritual of connection in which you both associate love and cuddling with reading. Make it a part of your day. Grab a book and read to your child.

2. Visit the library regularly

Will encourage your child, by age two, to prefer reading to any other activity. Use the time in the library to read to your child as well as to select books. Librarians usually have a list of favorite books for various ages.

3. Don’t push your child to learn to read.

Most children learn to read naturally, once they develop the preliminary skills. Your goal is to encourage a love of books, both pictures and stories. Teaching your child to read may take all the fun out of reading. Some very smart children don’t learn to read until they’re over seven years old. Don’t worry. They’ll quickly catch up with those who started at four or five.

4. Read to your child.

Being read to is more like listening to the radio; glancing back and forth at the pictures you hold up.

5. Use Phonics instruction as an adjunct.

Children who grow up immersed in books learn to love them so they’re motivated to master the hard skill of reading. Many children need to learn to sound out words letter by letter, which is also known as the Phonics approach. This is particularly true for English speakers since spelling and pronunciation in English are famously illogical.

6. Don’t stop reading to your children once they learn to read.

Read to him every step of the way, for as long as they enjoy it. Continuing to read to your child will keep him interested in reading to himself and developing his skills. And it gives you lots of fodder for great conversations about values and choices.

Keep them fascinated with the secrets of books. That’s what will motivate him to do the hard work to become a proficient reader.

7. Ritualize daily reading time.

Set up a reading time every day. It’s amazing how motivated kids are to read if this allows them to stay up a little later.

8. Help tackle the next level.

Pick a book hat is a bit harder than she might choose on her own — a simple chapter book, rather than a picture book, for example. Read together until your child is hooked. Then tell her it’s time for him/ her to read-alone time. Keep choosing engrossing, slightly harder books.

9. Try smart comics for reluctant readers.

Some kids get a terrific jump start from comics, which are less intimidating to them than chapter books.

10. Share your love of reading

Be their role model. If they don’t see you read, why should they? Discuss what you’re all reading at the dinner table. As kids get older, they can take over the role of reader, or the book can be passed around the circle.

13. Limit screen-time.

There is no way a book can compete with a screen. Most kids, given the choice, won’t choose the book. Omitting or banning screen usage until reading is well-established may be the most important thing you can do to encourage reading.


“Professor Scry has published four books, blogs about the importance of literature and the impacts reading makes on a child.”