Literacy Helping Your Six-Year-Old Become a Reader

Age six is a key year for supporting your child's reading skills. At this age, kids begin to sound out simple words by using letter sounds and context clues (like pictures). They can identify more and more words by sight and use strategies like rereading to help them understand what they read. This is a great age to play word games together! Your example and interest in them will leave a lasting impression.

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.

Build a Tent

In this "pin the tail on the horse" game, your child can practice letter sounds, printing, and rhyming.

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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.

Rhyme Time

In this build-a-poem game, your child can practice making silly rhymes with Martha and then choose a setting to go with the rhyme.

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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.

Planet Mobile

Your child can practice writing the names of the planets after making a space mobile with you.

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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.

Storybook Creator

Super Why is reading his favorite stories, but he's zapping and switching out words to change them! Your child can follow along as a story is read, or read the story on his or her own.

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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.

Learnerer Word Cards

You and your child can create and play a memory matching game as a fun way to learn new vocabulary.

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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?

A Tale of Two Soup Cans

Your child can follow along as Martha reads this story about reusing and recycling items and learn new words, such as landfill, consequences, and environment.

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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.

How to be an Inventor

Inventions are a fun way to feed your child's curiosity. In this click-along story, your child can find out what it means to be an "INVENTOR," and learn some new words along the way!

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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.

Play Maker

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."

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Raise a Reader with Super Why

Super Why introduces children to the power of reading -- and helps kids develop problem-solving skills along the way. Through engaging stories and games, your child can practice key skills like letter identification, word decoding, spelling, vocabulary and comprehension.

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Activity Finder: Learn With Your Six-Year-Old

Explore our Age-by-Age Guide: