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Literacy in America

Why Reading as a Family Is So Important

Leslie Boggs

President, National PTA

Reading and literacy skills are essential to children’s academic success as well as their ability to move through daily life with ease. 

Yet 25 million children in the United States cannot read proficiently, and only 37 percent of high school students graduate at or above reading proficiency. 

A literate society is critical for our nation to thrive. Family engagement is key to reversing our country’s literacy crisis. 

Research shows that children who frequently read with their families tend to have a strong belief that reading is both important and enjoyable. Research also shows that when families read together, children do better in school and beyond.  

A culture of literacy

Reading with your child creates an opportunity to expose them to more complex words and stories than they would normally encounter on their own, and it gives you an opportunity to ask your child questions about what they are reading to check and aid in their comprehension. 

Here are three ways you can start a family reading tradition:  

  • Establish a reading area in your home. Designating a special space in your home where you read together can help inspire your family to sit down and get lost in books. 
  • Make it fun! Reading shouldn’t be a chore; it should be an adventure. If your attitude reflects the joy you feel from reading, it’s easier for your child to feel that way, too!
  • Read books that interest your child and match their reading level. For young readers, find books with illustrations or photos that bring words to life and provide context clues for new vocabulary. For adolescents, find books about subjects that interest your child or introduce new experiences or opportunities.

Book ownership is also important to helping inspire children to read. Books always make great gifts!

Spending time reading together every day will have a lasting, profound impact on our children’s and our nation’s success. Reading together is also a great way to enjoy special moments and make memories. Happy reading! 

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