How to Raise a Reader

Packed with research insights and practical tools, Reading for Our Lives will show you how to nurture literacy from day one and tilt your child’s learning trajectory sky high.


Meet Maya

Author. Book lover. Literacy advocate. Maya shows parents what it takes to raise fluent readers and connects people of all ages to great books and authors.

What’s your Raise-A-Reader Secret Sauce? Take the Quiz to Find Out!

Take our quiz to see where you stand and get some ideas for bolstering your family’s book love.

We featured Maya and her book, Reading for Our Lives, in a live webinar for parent educators, librarians, speech therapists, and home visitors. She shared wonderful insights that were really tailored to their interests and needs, and it was so amazing to watch the audience come along with real-time realizations in the chat. I loved, loved, loved watching them connect the dots between language and literacy and being so engaged and excited by the information! She was prepared and present. I would highly recommend Maya for presentations to parents and the professionals who support them.

Mindy Ricketts, Head of Marketing and Content, LENA Foundation

We invited Maya to speak at our first post-pandemic live event and she delivered an excellent, customized message that resonated with our audience and won a standing ovation. I love how she researched our mission, history, and impact and weaved familiar United Way quotes, themes, and ideas into her presentation. Plus, she’s a pleasure to work with behind the scenes and inspires with her work and her words.

Dan Herda, Director of Communications at United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

Maya Payne Smart offers a living example of how to make books and stories a joyful part of children’s lives as well as a vehicle to lift communities. Whether through her engaging blog series, her community leadership roles, or as an author, she has a track record of using practical ideas to inspire people and connect them.

Meg Medina, Newbery Medal-winning author of Merci Suarez Changes Gears