Building independence (Ages 7–9)
Your child will now be developing confidence and increasing independence not only in what they read but in what they choose to read. But they still need you to guide them. These ideas will help you to keep a good balance between reading for enjoyment across a range of interests, developing the skills to help your child read fluently and encouraging independence.
Things to try with your child
1. It’s still good to share
Hearing a story read to you (rather than watching a story on TV or as a film) is hugely important for developing reading skills, but it’s also a relaxing routine which prepares children for a good night’s sleep. Hearing a story read out loud also means that children can have access to books that may as yet be too challenging to read alone – you can whet their appetite!
2. Open up the world of reading
Share the variety of your reading with your child: books, magazines, websites, and apps, to show how reading can help you to follow your interests and to get involved. Help them to join blogs, online communities and clubs that link to their hobbies whether it’s swimming, football, dance or music.
Always check that any online communities children sign up to are safe and monitor their use of them.
Developing fluency and understanding
1. Encourage prediction
When reading stories, good readers are always thinking ahead to start to work out what might happen next. You can help your child become better at this by asking key questions such as:'I wonder if … will happen? Who do you think will…?'
2. Research for homework
Your child may be asked to investigate a topic or find answers to questions set in class. You can help them with their research skills by talking about where to look to find the answers, although you may need to remind them to look in books and use the library as well as the internet. Children can struggle with information overload so they need your help to ‘search and sift’ both sites and information to make decisions.
1. Valuing choice
It’s really important to value your child’s choices even when a book looks too easy or too difficult. Children can read books that appear to be too difficult (especially if it is a topic that interests them) but you’ll need to guide them through tricky words, pictures, ideas or even the layout of an information book.
2. Not giving up
As children read more challenging books be aware that there might be times when they struggle and may seem reluctant to continue – so help them through those patches by reading a bit with them to get them started or hooked into the next chapter. Always balance this with sensitivity and valuing their choice – it’s got to be fun!