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How to Help Your Child Love Books

By Oliver Vonnegut, 12th Grader

Do you hope your young child will grow up to be an avid reader? Well, congratulations! You are a normal 21st century parent. Nearly every parent hopes their child grows up to love books instead of video games and television, and for good reason! The benefits of reading are clear; fostering intelligence, creativity, and (most importantly) empathy, what parent doesn’t hope their children become bookworms? Well, take it from a teenager who maybe loved books a bit too much as a kid (and still does to this day), it’s possible.

Phones are, without a doubt, the primary reason that so many people have stopped reading. Also, before we continue, there’s one band aid that needs to be ripped off: adults are just as bad as kids when it comes to always being on their phones. I’m sorry; it’s true. If you want your child to love reading, put the phones down for a bit! Sometimes the phones are necessary, of course, but put them away when they’re not. Young children emulate their parents. I became a reader because my parents were always reading books. They even sometimes locked their phones in the hotel safe on vacations. If they’d been on their phones all day, I would’ve followed that behavior instead.

(Also, don’t give your 7-year-old a smart phone. Take my word for it, and wait until they’re at least 10. Even then, go with a flip phone until they’re 13 or something.)

In that vein, the best way to get a child to read is to create a pro-reading environment in your household. Do a lot of reading yourself (it’s fun and good for you too), and they will likely follow. Kindly and gently encourage them to read by giving them fun books they might enjoy. Read to them at bedtime, and even read as a family once or twice a week (or more)! When I was younger, my family would all gather in the living room so my parents could take turns reading Robin Hood aloud. When I was old enough, I was also thrown into the rotation. By no means should you outlaw your child from watching TV or movies, but try to steer them towards books as well. Essentially, the best way to get your child to read is to surround them with reading and books.

So there you are. That’s the big secret of how to get your child to love reading. Just encourage them, put the stupid phone down when you don’t need it (which is more often than you think), and fill your house with books. Pretty simple, right?