For many parents, encouraging their child to become an active reader can be difficult. And because each child learns at a different pace, it can be hard for parents to determine how to best further their child’s reading skill growth.

The experts at K12 Inc., America’s leader in online learning for students in grades kindergarten through 12, are familiar with the need to individualize lesson plans, as well as reading lists, to best support the success of each child. Importantly, children often mirror the habits of their parents, including their reading habits.

“Get caught reading! Nothing motivates the youngest learners like mom and dad can. If you read for pleasure, your kids will want to read for enjoyment, too,” said Director of Primary Literacy, Kristen J. Kinney-Haines, Ed.D. “Also, read as a family. No matter your age, we never outgrow the enjoyment and comfort of hearing a great story read to us. Allow everyone a chance to be the reader – even the littlest ones, who can chime in with sight words.”

Here are more tips for encouraging your child to read, which in turn expands their vocabulary and helps aid in further studies.

Early Readers
For those children beginning to learn letters and words, remember that story time alone is not the only key to unlocking their reading potential. Reading programs such as the PhonicsWorks(tm) program created by the experts at K12 are designed to help children recognize the relationship between sounds and letters, to develop fluency, and to continue to develop a more extensive vocabulary. Learn more at

  • Start with picture books. Remember that you must make the act of reading a story exciting. Picture books are a great way to introduce the act of reading – or simply flipping through a book – to young children.
  • Let them read with you. As you read to your child, ask them to help you spell out words. Make sure you point out words as you read, to reinforce the sounds each letter, and combinations of letters, makes.
  • Recommended books for early readers: “The Doorbell Rang,” by Pat Hutchins, the “Frog and Toad” series by Arnold Lobel, and the “Amelia Bedelia” series by Peggy Parish.

Independent Readers
As your child continues to develop their skill level, look to books they can enjoy on their own.

  • Visit the library often. Updating your child’s book shelf is crucial for independent readers. Parents should ensure their child has access to books that will garner their attention and challenge their vocabulary.
  • Study challenging words. Because new reading materials will provide further vocabulary, practice looking up tricky words in the dictionary with your child and encourage them to keep a list of new words and definitions learned from each new book.
  • Recommended books for independent readers: “The Chronicles of Narnia” series by C. S. Lewis, “Chocolate Fever,” by Robert Kimmel Smith, and “The Borrowers” series by Mary Norton.

Advanced Readers
For children reading at an advanced level, it is important to ensure they are exposed to an ever-increasing library.

  • Find a reading program. Enroll your child in a regional or national reading program to help further motivate their reading practices.
  • Start a book club. Encourage your child to start a book club with friends. Making the act of reading a more social practice is important as your child gets older. In addition, you are preparing your child for classroom conversations focusing on reading materials for when they attend a higher educational institution.
  • Recommended books for advanced readers: “The Catcher in the Rye,” by J. D. Salinger, “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen and “Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.”

Want more recommendations for your readers? K12 provides a free, downloadable list based on reading skill level, visit



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