Harry S. Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers”. Harry may have stated that a long time ago, but things still have not changed. Today’s leaders are still readers. Top CEO’s read books on their industry certainly, but they also spread themselves out amongst the different genre of reading topics. Leadership, biographies, faith, fiction, mystery, and maybe even a little romance novel.

So, what if you are not a reader or maybe you need to coax your child into reading. Let’s begin at the beginning.

Birth – 3rd Grade Parents take the time to read to your child. Establish a routine. As a mother of four, bedtime routine was an established nightly ritual. Children need that stability and comfort, plus a little cuddle time. Regardless of your spoken language, read to your child in the language you feel strongest and most successful. Start the baby with a picture book, bright, colorful and something of course they will put in their mouths. Next move to the basics, good ole Dr. Seuss and the Bernstein Bears are children favorites. Gradually move into short chapter books.

3rd – 5th – As they say, children learn to read to the third grade then read to learn thereafter. Have your child read to you. Start with the tried and true library that they grew up with; I know you probably don’t ever want to see some of these books again, but what joy it will be when they are reading it to you. I would also have my child read a page and then I would read the next and so on. My personal feeling is to find a series of books your child likes and get them to read the full series. Once they have established this notion, then you can start finding other genre’s to try.

6th – high school – Oh the challenge!! I grew up with a required one hour of study Sunday – Thursday. Even if I did not have homework, I had to read. There again, routine is the theme. During the summer I have always loaded up the kids and taken them to the library. Three to four books each was the standard and then occasionally we would head out to Barnes and Noble and take an hour to look through the books and buy a nice “new” one. Some of our teen’s favorite movies are from a book series. Years ago, I challenged my 16 year old to reading from her favorite series, but then made her pick some kind of historical. I was hoping she would want to read about some famous woman or leader, but she picked pirates. Smiling, I thought, “Guess I need to be a little more specific next time”.

Adults – yes ladies and gentlemen we need to read. We need to keep our mind fresh and we need to allow it to wander and imagine. I have so many great books at my finger tips; my problem is giving them the time. So, try turning off the TV, getting off your computer or phone, and just pick up a good book. Have a range to choose from; your bible, your job industry, something educational, fun, intriguing, or something silly. Sit outside when it is beautiful out or this time of year, by the pool, and enjoy!

Yes, Leaders are Readers – even if you do not care to be a leader, the benefits you will acquire will keep you at your best and maybe you will be inspiring a future leader to follow your “reading footsteps”!