Five children are sitting on a low wall in a school courtyard. Backpacks are at their feet. They are working on school work.

The School Midway Checkpoint: How to Narrow the Gap and Ensure Your Child is Reading at Grade Level

December 5, 2023

Reading plays a crucial role in a child’s academic success. As the midway point of the school year arrives, parents have a prime opportunity to assess their child’s reading proficiency and take proactive steps to bridge any gaps. Below are practical tips for elementary, middle, and high school readers to ensure your child is not just keeping up but thriving in their reading journey.

Elementary School

Regular Reading Routine

Encourage a daily reading routine at home. Set aside a specific reading time before bedtime or during a quiet afternoon. This consistency helps build a reading habit, reinforcing the importance of this skill.

Diverse Reading Materials

Expose your child to a variety of reading materials. Include fiction, non-fiction, magazines, graphic novels, and online articles. This diverse exposure enhances reading skills and broadens their knowledge base.

Interactive Reading

Engage your child in interactive reading sessions. Discuss the plot, characters, and their thoughts about the story. This not only improves comprehension but also makes reading a more enjoyable and interactive experience.

Middle School

Encourage Independent Reading

Middle school is a pivotal time for independent reading. Encourage your child to explore books of their choosing. A trip to the local library or bookstore can be a fun way to foster their independence and curiosity.

Vocabulary Building

Expand your child’s vocabulary by introducing them to words beyond their grade level. Encourage the use of a word journal to track and understand new words. This habit aids in comprehension and prepares them for more advanced reading. This can also be a small but mighty building block for improved performance on college entrance exams.

Monitor Reading Progress

If a middle school student struggles with reading comprehension in language arts, there may also be signs of struggle in other academic subjects. Regularly check in with teachers to monitor your child’s reading progress. This collaboration ensures that any challenges are identified early, and appropriate interventions are implemented.

High School

Analytical Reading

If a strong foundation of basic literacy skills has been built through the elementary and middle school years, by the high school level, students should focus on analytical reading. Encourage critical thinking by discussing the author’s intent, themes, and literary devices. This deepens their understanding and fosters a love for literature.

Time Management Skills

High school students often face a heavy workload. Help your child develop effective time management skills to balance reading assignments with other responsibilities. This ensures they can dedicate sufficient time to comprehend and enjoy the material. Learning methods like previewing a text, skimming, summarizing, and visualizing can assist in strategic time management.

Join Book Clubs or Reading Groups

Foster a sense of community and shared interest by encouraging your child to join book clubs or reading groups. Discussing books with peers enhances their understanding and provides a supportive environment for intellectual growth.

Advocacy Tips for Parents and Students

Stay Informed

Keep yourself informed about your child’s reading curriculum and the expectations for their grade level. Attend parent-teacher conferences and seek updates on your child’s progress.

Communicate Effectively

Maintain open communication with teachers. Share any concerns about your child’s reading abilities and collaborate on strategies for improvement.

Be Proactive

If you notice a persistent struggle, be proactive in seeking additional support. This may include hiring a tutor, attending workshops, or utilizing online resources that cater to individual learning needs.

Our literacy tips are presented by Reader’s Digest Foundation.