Raise a Reader: A Parent Guide to Reading for Ages 8-10

Keep your kids reading with our guide to great book lists, book-related articles, and activities for children aged 8-10.



Raise a Reader: A Parent Guide to Reading for Ages 8-10

Your Young Reader Takes Flight

By the End of Third Grade, Your Child Will Be Expected to:

  1. Identify the meaning of common prefixes (un-, ex-) and suffixes (-full, -less)
  2. Be able to read and pronounce nearly any common word
  3. Describe the relationship between events, concepts, or steps in a process
  4. Read social studies and science content
  5. Identify an author’s point of view

By the End of Fourth Grade, Your Child Will Be Expected to:

  1. Read with accuracy and fluency (not stumbling over words)
  2. Self-correct when she mispronounces a word
  3. Be able to look for meaning in historical, scientific, and technical texts
  4. Compare and contrast two or more accounts of the same event
  5. Describe the theme, character, setting, and point of view in a story

By the End of Fifth Grade, Your Child Will Be Expected to:

  1. Quote from what he reads to help support her understanding
  2. Summarize what he reads and state the main idea or theme
  3. Compare stories to each other
  4. Be able to describe causes and effects as described in a reading
  5. Read literature, poetry, and drama

Don’t Be Concerned if These Skills Develop Erratically, Unless Your Child:

  1. Avoids reading
  2. Guesses wildly at unknown words instead of sounding them out
  3. Does not seem to get meaning from reading
  4. Displays troubling behavior, such as misbehaving in class or withdrawing

 For more information on learning disabilities, visit the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

Between the start of third grade and the end of fifth, you will see your child advance from early reader books with only a few words on the page to long chapter books. These reading skills will help your child accomplish countless tasks both for school and in his personal life.

How can you tell if your child is reading at grade level? You can seek input from teachers, and also review the topics and skills that are typically covered during these years in school .

Yearly Testing
During these grades, standardized testing becomes a part of the school year. When asked how they find out information about the school their children attend, the most common response (56%) was “standardized tests. Consider your child’s test scores to be one of several indicators of her skill level — along with her teacher’s feedback and her own attitudes about learning and school.

Whether — or how much — to prepare your child for standardized tests is up to you and your child’s teacher. Depending on the school, there may be days or weeks of class time devoted to preparation. Or, if your school generally performs well on the tests, test day may be just another low-key day of school. Regardless, ensuring a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast beforehand will help your child prepare.

Serious About Series
Many 8- to 10-year-olds become interested in book series. Your child may love the earnest adventures found in the American Girl series, the humor of the books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and, of course, the adventures of Harry Potter. If you’d like to get your child interested in a series, check out the first book in several series from the library and see which ones spark the greatest interest. 

Books Get Competition
Whether it’s because of video games, the phone, or TV, starting around age 8, children can become less frequent readers. According to a survey commissioned by Scholastic, 24% of children ages 9-11 are low frequency readers — meaning that they read books for fun less than once a week. Make sure that your child’s entertainment options are balanced, and that he always has a fun book around to read.

Reading Activities for Ages 8-10

1.  Shopping Together
Tired of listening to your child’s wish list every time you go shopping? Challenge your child to think before she demands something by reading label and price information. If she wants snack foods, ask her to choose two types, compare their nutrition information, and make her best case. At electronic stores, she can compare features of different items by looking at packaging and even start checking out tech specs.

2.  eBooks
eBooks are generally very similar to their printed counterparts, and kids this age love to read using digital and mobile devices whenever possible. 

3.  Audio Books
Some 8- to 10-year-olds start to feel too old to be read to at bedtime. That doesn’t mean that you can’t still share a story. Pass the hours you spend in the car with a book on CD. Pick a funny story read by an actor with a talent for voices — The Fantastic Mr. Fox read by author Roald Dahl is one that is sure to please.

4.  Magazine Subscriptions
Scholastic NewsRanger Rick, National Geographic for Kids, Cricket — these are just a few of the many magazines specifically for children this age. Your child will enjoy getting mail addressed to him. Or, look at magazines online together.

5. Board Games
Board games are a great way to firm up recognition of sight words, as well as spelling and vocabulary skills. Try favorites like PasswordBlurtBoggle Jr.Apples to Apples, and Buzzword Junior.

6. Joke Books
What 9-year-old doesn’t appreciate a good pun? Find a book of jokes at a library or bookstore. Encourage your child to memorize a few of her favorites. She can entertain her friends and family, and improve her memory as well.

Online Literacy for Ages 8-10

Many families and educators let 8-year-olds begin to explore the Internet. Being able to search for interesting and useful information online is no less important than the ability to navigate a library or bookstore. Using search engines, evaluating websites, and, of course, reading online are invaluable skills that you can introduce your child to gradually.

Now is a good stage in your parenting adventure to educate yourself on what it means for our children to grow up as digital natives. Watch Growing Up Online, the acclaimed Frontline documentary to get a sense of their world. Visit the government-sponsored website On Guard Online to get comprehensive information about how to keep your child safe online, and to protect your computer from harmful viruses.

The Internet Contract
Before letting children use the Internet independently, parents can write an “Internet Use Contract.” When your child is 8 years old or shows an interest in being on the Internet without an adult sitting next to him, whichever comes first, is the time to write it. You should also purchase an Internet filter program for your computer; this is essential if you plan to let your child surf without you sitting next to her. Net Nanny, Cybersitter, and Safe Eyes are some of the name brands in this field.

Where to Read
Once your child is ready to safely surf, bookmark some of these popular sites for kids. These sites contain many pages of news and entertainment that will expand your child’s reading skills:

  • Scholastic's kids' website is dedicated to books, reading, authors, and games.
  • Scholastic Classroom Magazines constantly feature updated news features written at a child’s reading level.
  • National Geographic Kids has videos, games, and many short articles about animals, countries, and more.
  • Amazing Kids! is an online magazine that features the work of children. Your young writer can read the work of other kids and submit her own stories, jokes, or media reviews.
  • Factmonster is a free reference site for students, teachers, and parents.
  • Zoodles offers age-appropriate kids' games that make learning fun.

For more sites for your child to explore, check out the American Library Association’s list of Great Websites for Kids.

Recommended Books 

Your 8- to 10-year-old child might enjoy these popular series books. And here are great titles for your son

Guides to Reading
Age 9
Age 10
Age 8