During the upper elementary years, your child will learn more complex material and be expected to make connections between different types of texts, like fiction and nonfiction.
All of the literacy skills your child has learned up to this point, such as comprehension and critical thinking, will come into play. That’s why it’s important for your child to maintain their commitment to — and enthusiasm — for reading.
Around the age of 9, kids often experience the “decline by nine,” in which your happy reader suddenly becomes a less-than-eager reader. According to the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report, 57 percent of 8-year-olds claim to read up to seven nights a week, but only 35 percent of 9-year-olds say the same. Similarly, 40 percent of 8-year-olds say they love reading, while only 28 percent of 9-year-olds say they do.
The more your child can read independently and for long stretches of time, the better. Reading stamina allows your child to ask better questions about the material and discover the true meaning of what they’re reading. They’re also more apt to take ownership of their learning — a skill that applies not just to reading and subjects at school, but to other areas of life as well.
“That ‘stick-to-it-ness’ that we want students to demonstrate is critical for tasks beyond reading and school,” says Karen Burke, SVP of Data Analysis and Academic Planning at Scholastic Education Solutions. (Check out these tips for building reading stamina.)
For example, reading can increase self-confidence, strengthen imagination, provide thoughtful insight into different cultures, and give children an important sense of self and connection to others — all important steps toward a healthy social-emotional life.
Here are ways to nourish your child’s love of reading so they can continue to thrive at age 9 and beyond.
1. Let Them Read What They Want
Reading is reading, it doesn’t matter what the topic is or how many pictures are in the book. As long as the content is age-appropriate, let your kids read what they want, whether that includes graphic novels or fantasy novels. Kids across all demographics agree that their favorite books are the ones they’ve chosen for themselves, per the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report.
Children also want to read books that entertain them, make them laugh (like the Captain Underpants series), or allow them to experience new places with diverse cultures and characters. (Read more about how to find that just-right book for your child).