A text-only version of this article appeared in my GoodReads blog on June 24, 2009. It’s still applicable today. Enjoy!
I also think that when kids talk about books on their own, and make recommendations to one another, great things can happen. I’m not sure what can be done to encourage this social reading, exactly. I’m sure that the best response comes from the spontaneous bubbling over of genuine enthusiasm, and you can’t orchestrate that. But I would be willing to bet that kids whose close friends are avid readers are more likely to be readers themselves (and vice versa).
My mother read to me when I was little, thus instilling an early love of books. The majority of my elementary school friends were also readers, and we were always telling one another “This was a good book, you should check it out when I take it back to the library.” That’s how I read A Wrinkle in Time, The Hobbit, and so many others before I was in middle school — books that were assigned to me in high school honors English! I agree that encouraging kids to read and share their favorites with friends is part of developing a life-long literacy habit.
How did you develop your love of reading?