Continuing my series about reading with your children (check out previous posts – Reading With Your 3 and Under Child and Reading With Your 3 – 6-Year-Old), here are some tips and books to try with your 6 – 9 year old!
First, let me say that this age group is the most fun, in my opinion. They are learning to read on their own and, for the most part, they WANT to read. In my experience, parents and teachers have done a super job up to this point reading great books out loud, taking their babies and toddlers to story time and sharing fun books that kids may want to try to read on their own. This age is just FUN (and, frankly, as a parent, YOU will start to enjoy the books more).
As your child starts to get to those pre-teen/teen years, however, the excitement sometimes mellows out. Parents and kids get busier with after-school activities, school tends to get more difficult with more homework, and some kids just get bored – they don’t want to read and would rather be watching television or playing a game on a device.
It is OK that your child isn’t reading ALL THE TIME (or that they choose to do something else over a good book), but make sure there is a balance and that you continue to be a reading cheerleader and role model to your kiddos (read magazines and newspapers, listen to books in your car, have family reading times).
Also, a word about choice. Your child might be in a school setting that allows complete choice over the books they read independently or that they check out from their school library. However, it has been my experience (and I have worked in elementary schools for over 15 years), that that is not usually the case.
Many times, students are asked to choose books to read that are in a suggested “level.” Or they are told that a certain book might be too easy for them and that they should check out something else that is more challenging. Or they might be told that they are checking out too many “how to draw” books and need to put it back on the shelf and get something else. Here is what I suggest – when you take your kids to the public library, let them check out WHATEVER THEY WANT – no judgment allowed! I’m not saying your nine-year-old should check out 50 Shades of Grey, but if she wants to check out and read Goodnight Moon, let her. Do not say things like, “isn’t that for babies?” or “I want you to check out something on your level.” Your child is getting that at school all day long and is probably getting very frustrated. Instead, say things like, “oh, you LOVED that book when you were younger, let’s read it again!” or “let’s get this book and then try something a little more challenging that we can read together.”
Think about how you choose books as an adult. Is anyone ever telling you that you should not read something because it isn’t challenging enough for you? Are there times you decide to pick up a quick romance novel to read instead of the newest book about politics? Do you have a stack of magazines on your nightstand instead of a stack of novels? Are you aware of your “reading level?” Do you care? The point is, find out what your kid likes, let them read all about it and even reread it if they want to!
Need some recommendations for good books? Here are some of my favorites to check out!
I love this beginning reader series by Kate DiCamillo and in my experience, kids love it too! Her website offers some activities that you can connect to the books, as you read!
A series about two best friends. Fans of Junie B. Jones will like these cute books. Check out the website for crafts and other fun stuff to go along with the books.
Alvin Ho is a second grader who is afraid of EVERYTHING. These books are funny and good for younger fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
This series of biographies about “ordinary people” by Brad Meltzer is fantastic. There are currently 14 books in the series, including books about Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Helen Keller, and Lucille Ball. The illustrations are fun and the storylines are interesting and inspirational.
This age is perfect for sharing classics like Charlotte’s Web, Ramona Quimby, Age 8, and Stuart Little. Start by reading a chapter each night before bed!
Amy Krouse Rosenthal was a prolific author of a number of books for children and adults. They are all witty, fun, and interesting to read. She passed away in March of this year, but her books live on (you may have read this article she wrote for The New York Times about her husband, right before her death – grab some tissue before you read it!)
Aaron Reynolds is the author of Creepy Carrots and Creepy Pair of Underwear. Other picture books that you might enjoy are President Squid and Carnivores.
Daywalt has not written a ton of picture books, but the ones he has published are fantastic. The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home are hilarious and his most recent book, The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors is a must read (you WILL laugh out loud)!