Encouraging reading (Age 9–11)
At this stage your child may well be reading independently at home and school for lots of different purposes, although some children may be reluctant to read adventurously and can get stuck on one author, series or type of book.
There’s probably quite a bit more homework to do and it’s more likely to require some reading and research.
If you are concerned about your child’s reading progress then pop into school to talk to the teacher first. If you are worried about your child’s interest in reading then there are lots of people to help (the teacher, librarian, booksellers) and good sites too.
Things to try with your child
1. It’s still good to share
It might get increasingly difficult to make time for the ‘bedtime reading experience’ now but it’s still really useful and enjoyable; reading to your child, listening to your child read, leaving them to read alone and listening to audio books are all valuable. Try to chat informally about reading and swap ideas about good reads – no pressure!
2. Keep opening 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.
Developing fluency and understanding
1. Read between the lines
Talking about stories, poems and information books can help your child to understand a book in different ways. It’s not just about what’s happened or who did what, so talk about the issues, what a book means to your child and whether they think there are any less obvious meanings that the author wants us to spot.
2. Research for homework
If your child is asked to research a topic, talk to them about how they will tackle the task. Remind them to look in books and use the library as well as the internet. Talk to them about how you decide what to use and what to reject – as well as how you know how to trust sources.
1. Valuing choice but nudging forward
It continues to be really important to value your child’s choices even when it wouldn’t be your first choice. Children enjoy reading series of books, such as Beast Quest, or Rainbow Fairies, or books by one author, e.g. Jacqueline Wilson, and these really help with their reading pace and stamina. However, over time it’s a good idea to try to gently move them on to keep their reading experience fresh and broad.
Use booklists, websites (see below), and/or talk to experts such as librarians, teachers and booksellers.
2. Reading clubs and groups
Show your child that there are opportunities to share reading ideas and recommendations – and the excitement of reading – through a variety of clubs, groups, festivals, etc. Many of these are online, such as Chatterbooks but you can also visit your library and bookshop for information.