Literacy Helping Your Seven-Year-Old Become a Reader

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.

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.

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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.

Pet Bot Joke Jam

In this silly game, your child can collect letters to make the Joke Bots spell words to complete hilarious jokes!

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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.

Dinosaur Dig

Your child can spell "DINOSAUR" and other fun words in this hide-and-seek letters activity.

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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.

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.

Twinkle Twinkle

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.

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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.

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.

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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?

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.

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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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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.

Comic Creator

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.

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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.

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Activity Finder: Learn With Your Seven-Year-Old

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