Help Your Child Enjoy Reading 

By Josette Frank

Staff Associate for Children’s Books

Child Study Association of America


We all want our children to read. More than just learning how, we want them to enjoy reading so that throughout their lives they will turn to books for pleasure as well as knowledge.


In books our children will find all the recorded wisdom and beauty of the ages. Through reading they can meet many of the most interesting people who ever lived and find out what they thought and did. They can discover the people and events of yesterday and expand their knowledge of the exciting world they live in today. It is, after all, the printed word that keeps alive the flow of information and ideas from century to century, country to country, people to people.


Reading, then, can bring to our boys and girls a wealth of satisfaction and pleasure that will enrich them for all the years of their lives.


Reading and Character


Parents often cherish the hope that if their children read about noble characters their fine ideals will be contagious and, so to speak, “rub off” on the children. To some extent this will be so. We know that books can both teach and inspire. The example of great lives can give the young reader a spiritual lift, stressing fine values and things worth striving for. But in our enthusiasm for one hero or another we must guard against pushing our own choices on our children. We may hope our little boy will grow up to be a hard-working genius like Edison, or our little girl a selfless server of humanity like Clara Barton. But mere reading does not make our children over into the image of our wishing.


Boys and girls have their own deep reason for being drawn to one kind of hero or another. The life and triumphs of Lou Gehrig, for instance, may be more satisfactory to our small son than all the achievements of Albert Einstein. We must let children chose the heroes they want to read about, just as we let them choose their other reading...


From “The Parent’s Guide of The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls” published by The University Society, 1961.

“All that mankind has done, thought, gained, or been

is in the pages

of books.”


– Thomas Carlyle