Why I want my child to be a reader


Parenting / Monday, November 20th, 2017

My two-year-old daughter picked up Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro in the library recently and started flicking through it.

“This is a good book!” she said.

A young girl in a flowered coat reading Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

I know my toddler doesn’t actually understand Booker Prize shortlisted dystopian science fiction. Still, I felt proud in that stupid way that parents often do, because it seemed like a clever thing to do. And I desperately want her to be clever. But more importantly than that, I want her to be a reader.

I loved reading so much as a child that I went to the library each week, took out as many books as I could carry, then hid them under my bed so my friends wouldn’t know how uncool I was. Then I did an English undergraduate degree, because it meant I got to read lots of stuff for four years. Then I did a publishing master’s degree, because I dreamed of working as a book editor. Then I started working in digital marketing, because it turns out there’s a lot more demand for someone who can edit a web page than a novel. I may be a digital nerd now, but I never lost my love for books.

I want my daughter to love reading that much. She already has her own bookshelf and has taken over several shelves on one of our bookshelves, which is a good start, apparently. Studies show that having books in the home is as important to academic achievement as how educated parents are.

I’m not that worried about academic achievement at this stage – I mean, she’s two – but I do like the fact that she can grab herself a book whenever she wants. “MUMMY READ IT!” is almost as common around here as “MUMMY DO IT!” Not quite but…almost.

She’s already started to narrate her playtime like it was a novel.

[Picks up Incredible Hulk toy] I am Hulk, he said.

[Picks up robot toy] I am Robot, he thought.

[Shakes Incredible Hulk] I am jumping, he said.

[Shakes Robot] I’m going to the shop to buy Weetabix, he said.

It’s a pretty shit novel, but I can’t help but wonder if one day, when her grasp on the finer points of plotting is a bit more refined, she’ll be a writer too. Will she understand the thrill of a crafting the perfect sentence or get enraged by people’s inability to use apostrophes?

Window on the back of a white limo that says 'Big Als Limo's"

Will she start a blog too, because she can’t imagine doing anything else in her spare time but writing? Will there even be blogs by the time she’s old enough to start one, or will the internet be nothing but porn and those Tasty videos? Will people even read anymore?

I’m not optimistic about the future of literature and journalism in general, but when it comes to my kid, I’m still hopeful that she’ll be able to appreciate good writing when she sees it. And she damn well be able to punctuate properly.

Rhyming with Wine
The Pramshed

12 Replies to “Why I want my child to be a reader”

  1. I’m a huge reader and have been reading books to my 21 month old since she was born. She now loves to pick up her books and look through them babbling away in her own language. I want her to be a reader as well x

  2. And of course she will be because she will see your love of books and that will excite her too…..xx
    I love reading and I cannot think of not having a book on the go. Many, many children do not have such great role-models and that is the worry. Or they never get read to at home. Then the parents don’t understand why their child doesn’t enjoy reading! She sounds like she already has excellent language skills and I love her novel!! xx
    #dreamteam

  3. I really want my child to be a reader too. I remember every school summer holiday, the library did a reading challenge and I loved it, so I’m going to encourage my little one to do it too when she’s old enough #fortheloveofBLOG

  4. I’m keen for my two to enjoy reading and develop a love for it too. I know people who have specifically asked us not to buy books for their kids this christmas but, in my opinion you can never have too many book! I’m with you on punctuation too 😉 x
    #fortheloveofblog

  5. Oh I am with you. We have always had books around and visit the library regularly too. But my boys have not inherited my love of reading. I live in Hope. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

  6. I’m an avid reader, I take after my mom. I have a picture of her and I – she’s reading a book and I was just sitting in her lap while she enjoyed a novel. I was about 10 months old. #DreamTeam

  7. I would be so happy for my boys to love reading, because I love reading too! My youngest sister hates reading and it makes me so hungry, haha. I just hope my kids are like me, because my sister is definitely missing out!

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