Tips to Nurture Young Readers

Reading is important throughout a person’s life. According to experts, “Reading proficiency by third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success.” [1]

Here are some tips to nurture your young reader:

1. Read to your child and let them listen to audiobooks they select. Listening to things that interest them, fiction or nonfiction, will encourage them to want to be a better reader.

2. Build their knowledge by participating in a wide variety of activities. Visit the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery, attend library events, and visit the fish tank and the galaxy in the Kids Library. They need experiences that will teach them about the world. “Background knowledge is the best predictor of how well you will learn the information you read.”[2]

3. Talk about words and the multiple meanings of words. Help your child notice how the same word can have a different meaning when you’re talking about different topics. Help them break apart compound words and play with words. 

4. Let them practice reading different types of books. The pictures in graphic novels and magazines help supply clues to words. If a child is having some difficulty reading at the same level as other children in their class, graphic novels are a great way for them to be reading “what the other kids are.”

Children need to learn to comprehend what they are reading, they need to be able to read “automatically” so they are expending their energy in understanding and not just what words are on the page.[3] This requires reading practice. Also teach them the five finger rule to help them pick books that will offer them success.[4]



[2] Words Matter: How a Deep Understanding of Core Vocabulary Accelerates Reading Proficiency webinar by Elfrieda H. Hiebert

[3] Why Reading is Like Driving a Car: Automaticity is Critical – webinar by Terrie Noland

[4] Motivation Matters; 10 Research-based Strategies to Motivate Struggling Readers

Betty Jean Neal

Betty Jean is a youth librarian who loves sharing her love of reading and knows the importance of books to prepare for the future. “Reading the right sorts of books can prepare one, mentally, for a heck of a lot in this world. I, myself, feel fully prepared to meet an alien, time travel, visit a parallel dimension, find a mermaid in the ocean, live in a world where magic has supplanted technology, and survive the apocalypse….hopefully not ending up in a dystopia." – Spring Lea Henry