Parent’s often want to know if their children are reading at or above their grade level. Another critical question is how interested my child is in reading.

Young middle-grade readers  (ages eight to ten) should be transitioning from learning to read to reading to learn and be reading independently. They should be able to read multi-syllable words and use setting and context to decipher new words. Young readers at this age should be able to summarize the characters, setting, and plot of a story. They should be familiar with prefixes and suffixes and understand similes, metaphors, and other descriptive devices.

Beyond skills, parents should pay attention to their children’s interest in reading. Some parents may relax once children master basic reading, but the work isn’t over. Maintaining an interest in reading will give your child the best chance to hone higher-lever comprehension and reasoning skills needed in high school and college and also give them a life-long love of books. The 2021 Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report showed a significant drop in reading interest between eight and nine, or around third grade.

In the study, fifty-seven percent of eight-year-olds said they read five to seven days a week. This dropped to thirty-five percent for nine-year-olds. The number of children who say they love to read also dropped from forty percent to twenty-eight percent between ages eight and nine. While all of the reasons reading frequency declines at this age are not clear, parents can take several steps to reverse this trend.

  1. Make sure your child has both fiction and non-fiction books that interest them. Your home may be filled with picture books and early readers, but do you have books written to challenge and interest middle graders?
  2. Limit screen time and replace it with family reading time. Continue to read with your child (maybe start a middle-grade series) and make sure your child sees you reading books of your own.
  3. Make regular trips to your local library part of your routine. Enroll your child in your library’s summer reading program.
  4. After (or before) watching a movie, encourage your child to read the book.

Once your child gets out of the habit of reading, it’s hard to jump-start it again. So look for ways to keep them reading!