While most children have "learned to read" by age seven, they are still building confidence in their fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension skills as they grow into strong readers. Create a playful reading atmosphere at home by encouraging your child's curiosity about books and the world around them. Your example and interest in them will leave a lasting impression.
Literacy Helping Your Seven-Year-Old Become a Reader
Simple and fun ways to help your child build reading skills:
Reading Fort Day!
Kids love tearing the living room apart and turning it into a cozy fort of their own making. Spend a weekend or holiday creating the coolest fort you can and declare it the reading fort. No need to buy anything, just use pillows, sheets and blankets you have around. But in order to sit inside, you have to be looking at (or listening to) a book! This simple activity can make reading a special adventure.
Create a Family Handshake
Creating a special handshake as part of a club or other fun event can help your child develop creativity and fine motor skills.Do This Activity
Find Funny Books
Kids like to read funny books! A whopping 70 percent of kids say they want books that make them laugh, according to Scholastic's Kids and Family Reading Report. Check out this list of fifteen books to get the whole family giggling.
Pet Bot Joke Jam
In this silly game, your child can collect letters to make the Joke Bots spell words to complete hilarious jokes!Play This Game
Follow Their Interests
Your child's interests can be the hook to dive into reading. If dinosaurs excite your child's imagination, look for short online videos about dinosaurs, take a virtual tour of a natural history museum, check out dinosaur books from the library, read dinosaur facts together and let your child share what she's learned with Grandma the next time they talk or visit. On the flip side, let a favorite book lead to a special activity: if your child reads a book about butterflies, find a caterpillar and watch it grow into a butterfly. If your child likes a book about trains, arrange to ride a train or visit a train station.
Your child can spell "DINOSAUR" and other fun words in this hide-and-seek letters activity.Do This Activity
Read to Your Child
Reading aloud to kids is "the single most important activity for building knowledge for their eventual success in reading," according to a landmark study. When kids sit next to a caring adult and hear engaging stories, they develop positive associations with books and build their vocabulary and comprehension skills. For helpful hints about how to make the most out of read-aloud time, click here.
Be a Role Model
Finally, don't forget to be a reader and writer yourself. One of the most effective ways to help children become readers and writers is to show them through your own example that you value literacy — and that reading and writing have useful purposes. Keep books and writing materials in the home, and talk to your child about what you are doing when you read and write.
Decorating your child's ceiling while practicing alphabet concepts is as easy as A, B ,C when you and your child create a nighttime star scene using the alphabet and lots of sparkle.Do This Activity
Keep Books in Easy Reach
Make it easy for your child to explore books. Keep a basket of books at kid level or in a "book bag" in the car for kids to flip through on rides. Place a couple of books at the foot of the bed for your child to look at first thing in the morning. Make a small reading corner or nook for your child — something as simple as a few pillows, soft blanket and a stack of library books. In other words, make books an ordinary and essential fixture in your home.
Waste Not Want Not
In this online story, Helen and Martha tell how items are recycled and explain new words, such as dispose, materials, and compost.Play This Game
Connect Books to Real Life
Skilled readers make connections between what they read in books and the world around them. When you read books with your child, look for connection points.
- That character reminds me of your Uncle Juan! They both love telling funny stories.
- She's sure a picky eater — just like your little brother.
- He's afraid there's a monster under his bed. When I was little, I used to think a monster lived in the washing machine because it made loud noises when my mom turned it on!
- Oh, they are going to the hospital. Do you remember when you went to the hospital to get stitches?
Puppy Day Care
Your child can learn new words associated with pet care and match the puppies to the actions they need in this game.Play This Game
Get Your Child a Library Card
Stocking your home with kid-friendly books doesn't take a lot of money — just some trips to the library. Take a walk around the library with your child and look at the book collections. In the children's section, read the signs on the shelves. Look for words like "fiction," "nonfiction" and "biography" and help your child discover what a few of these words mean. Check out the children's programs and special events your library offers.
Your child can build self-confidence, reading, and performance skills as she uses printables and props to perform the play "D.W. Gets Her Library Card."Do This Activity
Don't Forget Comic Books and Graphic Novels
Lots of kids love comic books because they often have exciting plots, and they combine pictures and text in a way that is accessible to many different levels of readers. Graphic novels are similar to comic books in that visuals are used to guide the story, adding text only to fill the gaps. Not familiar with this genre? Explore this list of kid-friendly graphic novels by Reading Rockets.
Does your child have a story idea for Arthur? Using the comic book creator, your child can write and illustrate a story with Arthur and his friends.Play This Game
Raise a Reader with Martha Speaks
Martha is an honest, smart, confident dog who loves to eat -- and talk! Through stories and games, Martha and her friends help your child learn new words and begin to understand what those words mean.Find Activities
Activity Finder: Learn With Your Seven-Year-Old
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Ruffet Recipe Cards
Use these recipe cards with your child while cooking to predict and investigate how food tastes, feels and changes.
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Martha Speaks Story Maker
In this app, your child can write and save eight adventure stories featuring Martha and her friends. Then, kids can play with the characters in the storybook while Martha reads.
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Planning an Elephant's Party
It's time to plan a party for elephant "Jeffy." Along the way, your child will learn some fun new words such as heavy, huge, and exact.
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The Usual Dogspects
Is Martha the culprit? In this clip, Mrs. Demson defines the word "RESPONSIBLE" as the accuses Martha of knocking over her trash.