By the age of 8, most children have moved from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” As you have likely noticed, various aspects of development interact with and influence each other. Because a child’s language and literacy skills form the foundation of success in school, it is at this point in development that some readers begin to show significant gaps in ability. Luckily, no matter what level your child is at, you can use this time to help them thrive and succeed in both language and reading.
Logic and Inference Skills Grow
Around third grade, children can do more than just read the words in a book. They use their comprehension skills to ask if the words make sense, and use their own personal experiences to understand the books they read and the conversations around them.
As their comprehension skills develop, so do their inference skills. For example, when you say say, “Boy, I sure have a lot of grocery bags to unload,” kids this age understand that you’re indirectly asking them to help (even if they do turn back to their video games rather than grabbing a bag).
Children this age can retell stories, and form and defend ideas. Understanding of cause and effect starts to take shape, as does an awareness of fact versus opinion. You can facilitate these budding skills by asking your child questions about the topic or the setting of a book before she reads it, by asking ‘why’ questions along the way, and by having open-ended discussions about topics, such as how the author’s opinion comes across in the book.