Baker Books, 1999. 2nd edition.
ISBN 0-8010-1184-1. 208 pages. $9.99
The day I stepped into an elementary classroom fresh from Wheaton College, I structured my
teaching around my own love for books and the great joy that reading brought to my life.
I read aloud regularly to my students and encouraged them to read during every spare moment.
We talked about books. We wrote about books. We even gave speeches dressed in costume as our
favorite historical figures after reading biographies.
But I wasn't satisfied at having an impact on only one classroom of children.
I went back to school and became a library learning center teacher. As a librarian,
I motivated and inspired students of all age levels to read and interact with books.
I encouraged teachers to read aloud to their students and had regular story hours for
every class. Then, I interrupted my teaching career to raise a family.
As the mother of two children, I began to investigate the learning capabilities of
infants and toddlers. I began to test some of the theories I had developed in working with
children during my years as an educator. I learned my best lessons about children and
reading while working with Emily and Patrick, my children.
I learned that lessons of character and virtue as well as abiding spiritual truths can
be well-taught through reading aloud. Words that flow from the pen of a skilled author can
sometimes say exactly what we want to say to our children, but do it far more effectively.
The words we read aloud become our personal testimony to our children about what we believe
When my children were launched into elementary school, I returned to the world of
school libraries; but once again I felt the need to reach more children. I went back to
school and earned another degree. As an elementary school principal I began to see in a
more immediate way the devastation that parents and students experience when school is
difficult and reading does not come easily.
I encouraged parents to read aloud to their children at home, developed reading
incentive and tutoring programs, and worked with teachers to improve reading instruction
in our school. I was back in costume again, also. I led a school-wide reading parade down
the main street of our community dressed as a favorite book character, Hans Brinker.
All of these endeavors produced results: our reading scores went up. But more importantly,
our students were excited about reading. All children can learn to read, but I knew that
we could take them so much farther if our students came to us with a love for books and
reading that was begun at birth. I wondered what I could do to spread the word to
even more parents about the importance of reading in the lives of their children.
The result of my desire to see more parents experience what I have experienced
personally is this book, How to Raise a Reader. The first edition was published in
1987 and now I've had the privilege of updating both the recommended reading lists and
including exciting new research on beginning reading instruction.
You can read this book in a variety of ways. Chapters One and Two are organized in a
question and answer format. Flip through them to find what you want to know.
Chapters Three, Four, and Five describe actual children and give suggestions for books
to read aloud that are appropriate for their age levelsfrom birth to age twelve.
If you are well on your way to raising a reader, you may only need some recommendations
for read-alouds. Use these chapters as a resource. Chapter Six includes dozen of
books that will entice the reluctant reader to do more independent reading.
If your child attends school, Chapter Seven provides a way to determine your school's
Reading Quotient. Chapter Eight will help you evaluate your child's reading performance
and give you suggestions for teaching your child to read. Finally, Chapter Nine offers
seventy-plus ways you can raise a reader, practical suggestions for things you can do
to make a difference in your child's life. Also, be sure to consult the many resource
sections; they contain valuable information you won't want to miss.
Read a review of this title at Amazon.com.
Here are some
ways to begin raising readers at your house.
Read more about the importance of reading aloud to your
Read how you can determine if your child has a reading problem
and steps you can take to help your child.
For a complete list of all of Elaine's books visit The