Parents should continue reading with their children throughout primary school, urges a report.
Too many parents ditch the daily reading habit once their child reaches the age of seven, according to research for Oxford University Press.
Some 44% of 1,000 parents of 6- to 11-year-olds polled said they rarely or never read with their child after their seventh birthday.
Former primary head James Clements said reading for pleasure was "vital".
The report includes a series of tips for parents from Mr Clements on how to keep pupils engaged with reading throughout primary school.
These include choosing as wide a variety of books as possible, taking it in turns to read, talking about the book and making sure the child understands any new or unusual words.
"It's a real shame that parents don't realise that just 10 minutes of reading with their child each day is one of the best ways they can support their education", said Mr Clements.
"Reading together six days a week means an extra hour of support for a child.
"It's definitely cheaper than an hour with a tutor and it could make a much bigger difference."
The report draws on research from the National Literacy Trust which suggested that young people who read outside class were 13 times more likely to read above the expected level for their age.
It also follows a study from London's Institute of Education published last week which suggested that children who read for pleasure are likely to be better at both maths and English than those who rarely read in their free time.
Clare Bolton of the National Literacy Trust commented: "We know from our work with parents and children in communities across the UK, that fostering a love of reading at home is crucial to children's future happiness and success.
"Parents are really important reading role models and our research shows that children's attitudes to reading improve the more they see their parents read so we'd encourage all parents to make time for enjoying a good book themselves."