Raising a Reader: Begin with the End in Mind

Updated: Jan 14

J.K. Rowling is said to have known the ending to Harry Potter's 7-book hero's journey when she wrote the first book.


I changed careers when I was 30 years old. I was newly married and had begun to evaluate the trajectory my life was on. My husband was a middle school teacher and absolutely loving it. As a sales and marketing executive, my job paid well but was otherwise not very rewarding and required me to travel. I wanted a family and to be home every night (plus the teacher’s schedule was very appealing), so I took a detour and found myself teaching 7th grade English. One of the first lessons I had to learn as a new teacher was this: begin with the end in mind. Which would have been helpful when I was choosing a major. Some lessons are meant to be learned the hard way, I suppose.


Fast forward an undisclosed number of years. After struggling with infertility, I am blessed to be a stay-at-home-mother to two beautiful boys under the age of three. More than anything, I want to love them well and raise them to be good humans. Secondly, I wanted to raise them to be good readers. Conveniently, these two goals are aligned. But the question is, how do we get from here to there?


Just to be clear, I was not an elementary teacher and I don’t pretend to know how to teach kids to read (although my mom swears by Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons since she used it with me and my four sisters). But I do know that I want to raise them to be strong readers, as I saw firsthand the advantages this will offer them by the time they reach middle school. So now, in their early years, I am endeavoring to begin with the end in mind.


How to Raise A Reader: A Starting Point

I have been reading to my oldest son since he was a newborn, but since deciding to start this blog, I thought I would do well to consult expert opinions. So I picked up a copy of How to Raise a Reader by Pamela Paul and Maria Russo from my local library. Whether it was my years as an English teacher, or the fact that I was a bookworm as a child myself, it turns out I’ve been on the right track.

In my next post, I would like to share some of the authors’ insights combined with my own experience to lay the foundation for future posts, however, I do recommend reading the book for yourself as I found it to be helpful, inspiring and validating. As former and current children’s book editors for The New York Times Book Review, the authors include book recommendations of board books, picture books and young adult books with a brief synopsis of each.


Raising Readers: One Step at a Time

I do intend to return to the classroom to continue my teaching journey but for now, while my babies are little, I hope to make the time I have with them meaningful and set them on the path to their own success. And I hope some other mothers will join me.


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Next up: Raising Readers: Reading to Babies

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