Topics A-Z: Parent Tip Sheets (Growing Readers)

Recognizing Reading Problems

Learning to read is a challenge for many kids, but most can become good readers if they get the right help. Parents have an important job in recognizing when a child is struggling and knowing how to find help.

Recording Observations: Journals and Field Notes

Science and math explorations provide your growing reader with a chance to record all kinds of observations. Young children love to keep special journals, and fill them with all sorts of drawings, scribbles, sketches, notes, and graphs. Try to date each entry and watch as your child's observational and recording skills grow along with your child.

Graphic Novels for Young Kids

What are graphic novels?

Graphic novels are stories written and illustrated in the style of a comic:

  • Vivid illustrations combine with short bursts of text, often presented  in a series of rectangular panels
  • The story unfolds in a clear sequence, and is often action-packed (and funny)

Graphic novels can be fiction (for example: historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, fairytales) or nonfiction (for example: history, biography, informational)

The main characters don’t have to be superheroes!

Listen and Learn with Audio Books

Audio books are a wonderful way to expose your child to complex language, expressive reading, and fantastic stories. Listening to audio books also gives kids the valuable and enjoyable experience of using their own imaginations to visualize the people and places they’re hearing about. Though popular with many families during long car trips, audio books are a great way to experience stories anytime, anywhere.

Riding and Reading

Travel is just the thing to get young minds moving. Turn travel time during a family trip into a great bonding and learning adventure with activities that build language for literacy and boost kids’ brain development. Don’t forget to pack your imagination!

Reading Adventure Packs for Families

Parents who read to their children everyday and talk about what they are reading together promote a joy of reading and literacy achievement. How can teachers encourage reading at home and support the role of parents as educators?

One way is through the use of our reading adventure packs — a paired set of theme-based fiction and nonfiction books and related interactive activities that kids bring home from school to share with their family. Just assemble everything into a two-gallon zip top bag, and they're ready to go!

Reading Tips for Parents (in Multiple Languages)

Getting the Most Out of Nonfiction Reading Time

Reading together remains one of the most important things adults can do with their young learner. Today, recommendations include reading information or nonfiction books with much more regularity. Nonfiction books present many opportunities to learn new concepts and vocabulary, as well as broaden a child's view of the world. Nonfiction books are written differently than picture books in that there are often more pictures, graphics, charts and photographs included within the pages.

Got a Newspaper? You’ve Got Learning!

Most families have access to a newspaper. Either one arrives on your doorstep or a local community paper is available for free at the coffee shop or grocery store. Even just a few pages from the newspaper can be turned into lots of early learning activities. Grab your young child and a pair of scissors, and let's get learning with a newspaper!

Letters and words

Have your child cut out the letters needed to spell his first and last name. Have him glue these onto a piece of paper.

When Writing Is Hard

Let's face it: Not all kids love to write. For some, it's hard to come up with anything to write about. Other kids have a lot to say, but it's hard to get the ideas written down in a meaningful way. For a small percentage of children, every step of the writing process is difficult — from processing the ideas to forming the letters to write to conveying the right message. These children may have dysgraphia, a learning disability that affects writing. Kids with dysgraphia may struggle with spelling, poor handwriting and getting their ideas onto paper.


"I'm wondering what to read next." — Matilda, Roald Dahl