Parents can play an important role in assisting their children to learn to read, and can act as good role models in promoting reading behaviour. While there has been a raft of research on the impact of parents as teachers, there has been little empirical analysis on the impact of parents in modelling reading. Addressing this gap in the literature with time‐diary data, this paper presents a study of the association between parents' and young people's reading in the United Kingdom. The paper finds a strong association between parents' and young people's reading concentrated in households where parents are observed to read for more than 30 minutes per day. In addition, mothers' reading is associated primarily with girls' reading (especially in lone‐mother households), while fathers' reading is strongly associated with boys' reading. Some implications for campaigns to encourage young people's reading through increased parental reading are discussed.