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Reading: How to Help Your Child

Do you have a toddler who loves books and stories? How do you keep that love of reading going? What if your school-age child doesn’t like to read? How can you help?

Kids with good reading skills do well in school and in life. Here are some tips on how to help your child succeed.

Visit Your Local Library

To give kids a strong start, almost every community offers programs to help kids read. Begin with your local library. Talk to the librarian about your child’s age and interests. Ask for ideas on how to make reading easy and fun.

As well as lending books, many libraries offer families free reading support. For example:

  • story time for babies and toddlers
  • homework help for school-age kids
  • summer reading programs for kids of all ages

Your library might display reading lists of books for kids based on their age and interests. They might make special reading lists during the year for different seasons or holidays. There are always new books to borrow. Give your child time to explore the bookshelves and choose books that interest them. This sparks interest in more reading.

Libraries offer more than books. You'll also find magazines, activities like puzzles and games, and audio books. Older kids might find lists of websites to help them with school projects.

Ask an Expert

Teachers, childcare providers, and even your child’s health care team can help your child build strong reading skills. Ask if they know of reading events or programs for your child.

Elementary schools often have a reading specialist on staff. They are specially trained to work with students on reading skills. They are also there to support parents. They can discuss your child's reading development, suggest things to try at home, and help you find local reading programs. Some reading specialists hold workshops for parents who want to help their kids read.

In many areas, schools and community groups run literacy programs after school. The reading specialist or your child's teacher can point you to programs in your area.

Lots of kids struggle with reading. If you have questions about your child's reading ability, talk to your pediatrician, teacher, or reading specialist.

Reviewed by: Cynthia M. Zettler-Greeley, PhD
Date reviewed: June 2021