Being able to read independently for long stretches helps your child to make deeper connections with challenging text. That same focus also sets the stage for them to discover the true meaning of the story they’re reading.
“When you can read longer, you can ask better questions,” says Karen Burke, senior vice president of data analysis and academic planning at Scholastic Education. “You probe and then you discover the deeper essence of the text.”
Kids also begin to take ownership of learning when they have greater endurance for reading — and not only in literacy, but in other subjects and areas of life, as well. “That ‘stick-to-it-ness’ that we want to have students demonstrate is critical for tasks beyond reading and school,” says Burke.
When it comes to sports, video games, art projects, or other hands-on activities, you’ve probably noticed that your child has a seemingly endless supply of focus and energy. Here are a few tips and strategies to ensure they have that same level of stamina and perseverance when they open a book.
1. Set a Purpose
Whether it’s just for pleasure, to learn something new, or to find out what happens next in their favorite series, kids need a reason to read. Before your child picks up a book, encourage them to set a purpose for reading that day. This will inspire them to reflect upon what they’re reading, which in turn, will deepen learning and build reading stamina, says Burke.
After they’re done, set aside time to talk to them about what they’ve just read to promote even deeper reflection.
2. Make Reading a Special Family Activity
If your child has older siblings, Burke recommends inviting them to read the same books or different books on a similar topic. (Here’s why everyone wins when siblings read together.) Having someone reading alongside them may be just the encouragement they need to keep going.
Also build a general interest around reading: When your family gathers at the dinner table or is in the car together, have a conversation about what your kids are reading, while sharing information and thinking deeper about the stories. Your child will be more encouraged to finish a book when they have opportunities to share what they’ve learned.
3. Jump-Start Independent Reading With a Read-Aloud
To help get your child in the swing of reading for longer, start independent reading time with a read-aloud and then hand it off to your child to finish.
Burke also suggests reading every other chapter aloud with your child to get started, increasing the amount of reading they’re doing silently on their own. The goal is for them to be doing real reading, unsupervised, she says.
4. Create a Special Reading Area
Burke suggests talking to your child about where they like to read and work, and creating a special, comfy place where high-interest books they’ll enjoy are within easy reach.
“Once the mind grabs onto a story or text and finds it enjoyable, the muscle memory kicks in,” says Burke. Don’t forget to cut out distractions like TV, computers, and phones.
Looking for more tips? See all expert advice about establishing reading routines at home.
Shop engaging books that build stamina below! You can find all books and activities at The Scholastic Store.