A few weeks ago, when I told my Instagram followers that I had received How to Raise a Reader by Pamela Paul and Maria Russo (editors of The New York Times Book Review and parents themselves), I got an onslaught of messages asking me for my thoughts on it! I was able to finish this on a flight a few weekends ago, but I spent some time going through the pages and paragraphs I had marked to choose some of my favorites to share with you… So, at long last, I’ve got some information for you about How to Raise a Reader!
I’ll start with my very favorite part about any and every book on reading with children– the booklists! Paul and Russo really knocked it out of the park with their lists here; a whole section of this book is dedicated to lists of books separated by theme and reading level, and the authors include various other lists throughout the book. I greatly appreciated that the themes of their lists are different than in many other books… Rather than just “Picture Books” or “Books for Preschoolers,” Paul and Russo have lists like “Books That Make Us Laugh,” “Friendship Stories,” and “Fear and Bravery,” among others (and all those lists are further broken down into picture books, chapter books and middle grade, and young adult). At the end of each chapter of the book, Paul and Russo also include a related booklist, such as audiobook picks for family or graphic novel picks for reluctant middle grade readers. It seems that no matter what you’re looking for, they’ve got a lists for you! And, unusual for me, they’ve got some titles I haven’t read — and some that I haven’t even heard of. I’ve got my work cut out for me!
Now to the informational content of the book… How to Raise a Reader is broken down into 5 sections: Born to Read (babies and toddlers), Growing a Reader (emerging and independent readers), Your Middle-Grade Reader, A Reader for Life: Teenagers, and More Books to Love: By Theme and Reading Level. Most of the raising readers books I’ve read tend to focus on babies, preschoolers, and elementary students, so I was excited to see Paul and Russo address how to keep reading alive with older children (or help them engage if they’ve always been more reluctant or veered from a reading path for a while). Their words are inspiring and their tips easy to implement — and this book reads fairly quickly, so if you’re looking for quick and easy inspiration to reading with your own children and engaging them as independent readers, this book is for you!
In full disclosure, I would have liked to see more research quotations or citations. I tend to read more academically when it comes to learning about readers, and I always appreciate knowing where information is coming from and exactly what the research is saying (this is the main reason Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook is always my go-to resource and recommendation for books like this !).
Keep reading below for some of my favorite quotes and tidbits from How to Raise a Reader.
Have you ever read any books like this? What are your favorites? Two of mine include Read-Aloud Handbook and The Enchanted Hour (you can read my full review here), and others I’ve enjoyed are The Read-Aloud Family and Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever.
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