How To Build Lifelong Readers: Your Strategy (Strategic Parenting)

There are five strategic decision that parents must make to ensure their children become lifelong joyful readers. As parent educators you play pivotal roles in your child’s reading development. You must choose to be the:

  1. Reading Role Model
  2. Reading Supporter
  3. Reading Detective
  4. Reading Promoter
  5. Reading Resource Provider

Each of these roles has a very specific purpose, which will be detailed in following posts. This post is designed to give you an idea of how these roles connect, and also how they are separate, and why. Each role listed is designed to aid in motivating children to read. Reading development cannot happen if the child never picks up a book.

As a Reading Advocate and Educator with over 20 years of experience in the field of Literacy work I have worked with several parents who may take on one or more of these roles and still have an unmotivated Reader. I have found that all five of these roles must be continuously employed by the parent to create life long engaged Readers.

Example 1:

A parent often promotes reading by purchasing books for their children to read but never gives the child an opportunity to have authentic opportunities to discuss the book which causes the child not to have a relevant purpose for reading. This often happens when a parent is a Reading Promoter but chooses not to fill the role of Reading Supporter. As a result of the reading experience not being given any relevance the child soon begins to shy away from the time spent reading.

Example 2:

A parent supports reading and gives the reasons why reading is important, making it relevant. However, the parent never models the acts and behaviors of a reader by actually spending time reading. In other words, the parent is a Reading Promoter and Supporter but not a Reading Role Model.  The parent begins to discover that children don’t always do what you say. However, often they do what the parent does by emulating the actions of the parent. Therefore, when the parent shows they are not passionate about reading they see decreased chances of creating a passionate reader.

“Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t work as a method for enforcing habits we want our children to have. However, modeling, supporting, detecting interests and aligning habits with those interests, promoting and providing resources to encourage desired habits, are great methods  to motivating any child.

The following posts in the How To Build Lifelong Readers series detail how parents can assume the roles outlined here and become more effective parent educators. Then we’ll pull it all together showing how the decision to take on these roles in support of your child’s reading development actually brings about the desired results.

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