Many of you reading this website have young children or teenagers in your home. Would you like them to be successful in school? How about their career? How do you picture their lives to be in the future?

Of course you want them to do well in school. No one wants to see their child, teen, or even adult son or daughter struggle in life. So what is a simple thing you can do to increase their chances of success in whatever they choose to do in life?

Get them to read.

Read a lot.

Read books.

Sure, reading magazines and websites is reading. But nothing beats the in-depth way a book can cover a subject or story.

Unfortunately, though, reading books is not something a lot of us do. One of my favorite websites had a post on that very topic this week and the statistics about books are not very encouraging. It got me thinking. How did I become a reader? Why do I still enjoy reading?

It started when I was a child. My parents were readers. Some of my earliest memories include being read stories and poems. I remember my parents reading newspapers every single day. I remember having lots of books and remember books that were passed down from older cousins. I remember the fun of going to the bookmobile (a mobile branch of our library) to pick out the books I would read every week during the summer.

I wanted to read just like my dad!

How can you help your child be an avid reader? Here are a few quick tips:

1. What are you reading this summer? The best way to teach a child to love reading is to love reading yourself. Find a book you will enjoy just for you and spend a little time each day reading that book. Sit where your children can see you read. They need to know that reading is an activity worthy of an adult’s time. The single most important thing you can do is be an example to your children. If you say reading is important, but you never do it, that sends a powerful message to your child or teenager.

2. Buy your children books. Yes, books can be expensive. But I’ve noticed it is easy to pay an equal amount of money on a new DVD and many homes are filled with a pretty extensive collection of them. Will the latest movie enhance your child’s future the way a book can?

3. Visit the library. A good, inexpensive way to increase reading is to make a trip to the library with your children part of your routine. Many libraries have fun, inexpensive activities for your children like story hour and even summer reading clubs that can be a free source of reading inspiration.

What’s on your reading list this summer? How are you making reading a priority in your home? If you haven’t read a book in a long time, a quick computer search will turn up lots of titles of books of any type or on any topic. Please leave a suggestion in the comments if you’ve found a particularly great book you would like to share.