cover image How to Raise a Reader

How to Raise a Reader

Pamela Paul and Maria Russo. Workman, $19.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-5235-0530-2

Paul and Russo, respectively editor and children’s book editor of the New York Times Book Review, bring parental and editorial knowledge to this practical, reassuring guide to encouraging children to read. Devoting different sections to different age levels, from infants through teenagers, the authors give recommended reading lists, with a mix of classics and newer titles, in each. Suggestions for fostering a love of reading in children include reading to one’s newborn, giving books as birthday gifts and organizing used-book swaps as birthday party events, and encouraging teenagers to connect online with contemporary YA authors (Sarah Dessen, Brendan Kiely, and Tahereh Mafi are cited as particularly engaged writers). Writing in the second person, in a casual but fact-based style, Paul and Russo also seek to quell adult worries. For example, they assure their audience that while school curricula may push reading in kindergarten, “many perfectly bright children are simply not able to process the steps of independent reading before age 6 or 7.” Furthermore, parents need to remember to leave the instruction to school, and to focus on enjoyment, “sprinkling the fairy dust around reading and books.” With the bottom line that “If you want to raise a reader, be a reader,” their primer is recommended for all worried parents and anyone looking for suggestions of what books to read or give to children.[em] (Sept.) [/em]