Age 8-11: When Your Child Becomes a ‘Reader’

At this age, most children have mastered the mechanics so can read quite well and independently access stories, books and magazines appropriate to their ability.
In a way, this is another beginning. The ability to read is the foundation on which to develop a real love of reading and to become a reader – someone who chooses to read for pleasure.

However, it is also the stage when many other things can distract children from reading. So your continued involvement and guidance is vital to give reading a chance to embed and become part of your child’s life.

Keep the Routine Going

If your child has yet to really establish a reading habit of their own, continue encouraging them, keep the distractions at a distance and create a quiet time and space for reading.

Encourage Independent Reading

Many children can be reluctant to take the step to becoming independent. Even when they are able to read alone it can be daunting. One strategy that really works to encourage independent reading is to take advantage of the fact that children often want to stay up late. Try saying, ‘It’s time to turn the lights out and settle down, but if you want ten more minutes before we do that, you can read.’

Continue to Read to Your Child

Co-reading can really come into its own at this point. You can start with as little as a paragraph each and build it up over time. There’s no rush, just take it at a comfortable pace for your child. Co-reading is a great way to introduce your child to books they might not otherwise tackle on their own because they may see them as too challenging.

Bring Books to Life

Look for opportunities to bring books you have at home to life – for instance, if your child’s a dedicated Minecraft player, then read the Minecraft books together at bedtime. Show an interest in your child’s game play and ask your child to explain it to you later using the book.

Inspire Them

Children love their own popular culture. You may find a good magazine really hits the spot, and feeds their emerging interest in films, gaming, pop music, art and craft, football or other sports. If they love a magazine, get a subscription. If they’re still exploring the choices, make it part of your family routine to go to choose one at the weekend. If you have a very sporty child, the sports pages of the newspaper can be a great thing to give them to read because it makes them feel very grown up! And other media can open up an interest in reading. If your child has enjoyed watching a film, TV programme or DVD, give them the book and explain that the book always has more in it – so it will be even better!

The information and tips on this page are taken from Help Your Child Love Reading, which contains advice on encouraging reading for every age group – from babies to teens.