How to Improve Your Child's Reading Skills

Your child will be breezing through books in no time flat.

Sep 16, 2021



How to Improve Your Child's Reading Skills

Sep 16, 2021

Reading is one of the most rewarding hobbies you can pass on to your school-aged child. Sometimes, however, you may find that they need a little extra support when confronted with more complex writing. Not to worry — improving the reading skills of a child can be a lot of fun! Starting with reading fundamentals like phonics and moving onto picture books and chapter books, your child will fall in love with reading in no time. 

When reading together or independently, finding the right materials for your child to get absorbed in is key. In addition to catching and holding their interests, the right books will spark imagination and allow for reading ability, reading comprehension, and stamina to soar. Your child will want to pick up even more books to read!

So what are the most effective ways to improve reading skills together? We spoke with Karen Burke, senior vice president of data analysis and academic planning at Scholastic Education Solutions for tips on how to improve the reading skills of a child.

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1. It All Starts With You

Being your child’s guide to bettering their reading skills is fun. The simple fact is, if you love reading, your child will notice and will want to read, too. 

“Help children enjoy reading and books,” says Burke. “Laugh, be curious, and model how great books are. While reading, ask children to read aloud to you to work on fluency. You can read a passage and ask your child to reread the same passage with expression.”

Have conversations with your child about what you’re reading together, what they’re reading on their own, or even what they’d like to read. Ask them questions about what interests them, and then foster that interest by doing your research into the topics to find the best reading material for them on the subject. You can start by exploring our book lists and recommendations

2. Read, Read, Read

Practice makes permanent, and the more you read together, the more your child’s reading skills will grow. Start with picture books that are age-appropriate and make observations while reading. Then, slowly work your way through higher reading levels. (Here’s how to get into a reading routine.) 

Try different reading materials that your child hasn’t explored before to expand their vocabulary and reading comprehension. In exploring different materials, you’re bound to come across something that sparks their interest, which will make them want to read more.

For example, graphic novels and comics are a great way to sharpen your child’s reading comprehension by bridging the gap between what they read and what they see. They are the perfect step toward graduating to chapter books, which in turn will take their reading skills to the next level. 

3. Be Patient

Remember not to rush the process of improving your child’s reading skills. Meet them where they are and take things slowly. Learning to read and improving a child’s reading skills should be methodical, and suit your child’s pace. 

Listening to their feedback and responses to practicing is also vitally important. Make space for open dialogue about whether or not they enjoy what they’re reading, what they would like to read next, and even what they would like more help with. Listening to them when they become frustrated with the process also makes a huge difference.

“Remember, adults are good readers already and have had lots of practice,” says Burke. “It is important to remember children are just perfecting their skills. Try not to tell the child everything, let them uncover some of their own learning. Guide their learning with questions that will lead to learning.”

4. Find Their Favorites

It’s widely observed that children who choose their own books want to continue reading more; in fact, 89 percent of children agree their favorite books are the ones that they have picked out themselves, according to the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report. Being given different options and opportunities to explore a wide range of genres, topics, and authors helps develop an excitement for reading and a curiosity that leads to choosing books for themselves more often.

Introducing a series is a great way to introduce your child to new worlds and characters that will keep them coming back for more after they’ve finished a book. 

In allowing them the freedom to choose their own books, you’ll find that your child will develop strong bonds with new characters and their adventures. Once you spark that interest, your child will eagerly continue reading through all the installments in their chosen series. 

Remember to have fun with reading. When you show your child how adventurous reading good books is, you’ll instill a love of reading from an early age, even if they’re reluctant at first. 

Shop the best books for your child’s reading skills below! You can find all books and activities at The Scholastic Store.

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