Your 7 1/4-year-old: Encouraging reading

Your 7 1/4-year-old: Encouraging reading

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Your 7-year-old now

Some 7-year-olds are eager readers. Other are … well, indifferent. If your child falls into the latter category, take heart. It's a big wide world of reading out there. You may simply need to look a little harder to find what "clicks" for her.

First consider branching out with her reading material. Many kids this age love comic books. And as long as the comics have words, your child is reading. Books of classics like Peanuts or Calvin and Hobbes actually teach kids many vocabulary words (some of them pretty big!). Some kids like to read only magazines. There are also many kids' series with seemingly questionable titles (Captain Underpants, Dear Dumb Diary) that have eager followers.

If your child claims not to like reading, it's possible she's getting too much screen time. Set aside time in the day specifically for reading, together or separately.

Don't overlook the possibility that your child dislikes reading because it's simply too hard for her. Is her reading material too advanced? Or is she having trouble with the process of reading itself? Ask what her teacher thinks. The solution may be as simple as some extra reading help.

Your life now

Feel guilty because you missed the school bake sale? Don't. What contributes to kids' motivation levels and school performance is a combination of the ways their parents show interest in their education.

Direct school involvement is important, so do make an appearance at field trips or class parties when you can. But your personal involvement with your child is just as critical. That includes providing intellectual stimulation, talking about school, being available to answer homework questions, and other kinds of attention that can be given even if you're not the room parent.

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