Read Between the Lines: Ways to Help Your Child Become a Reading Success


Are today’s children, teens and adults reading less?

The answer is yes, according to the National Endowment for the Art (NEA)’s 2007 To Read or Not to Read: A Question of National Consequence.


Not only are North Americans reading less, we are reading less often. The NEA study found, “Less than one-third of 13-year-olds are daily readers, a 14 percent decline from 20 years earlier.  Among 17-year-olds, the percentage of non-readers doubled over a 20-year period, from nine percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004.”  And, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2006 American Time Use Survey, on average, Americans ages 15 to 24 spend almost two hours a day watching TV, and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time reading.

As students prepare to enter college, their international reading scores are declining. The NEA study shows that reading scores for 12th grade students fell significantly from 1992 to 2005, and 2005 reading scores for male students are 13 points lower than for female students.

How Can the Trend Be Reversed?  The more children read, the more they'll enjoy reading and the better readers they're likely to become.  Everyday, we can celebrate the joy of reading and recognize reading’s importance in school and throughout life

What Can Parents Do to Engage and Interest Their Child in Reading?  Read together regularly.  Sylvan Learning recommends that parents spend an average of an hour a week - or 10 to 15 minutes a day - reading with young readers.  It establishes reading as a regular, daily habit.

Encourage your child to build his or her own library.  Children have always been natural collectors.  By encouraging book collecting and the creation of a personal library, you introduce your child to a world of resources.  Help your child start his or her own library by including a visit to a local bookstore in your weekly or monthly shopping outings.

Search for reading activities on the Internet.  There are an abundance of great Web sites that provide reading lists for children.

Make a book.  Encourage your children to write original stories and illustrate them with their own drawings.  It's a great way to increase comfort and familiarity with words.

Learn new words on the road.  Every journey, trip or vacation, regardless of the distance, introduces new ideas and objectives to your child and can enlarge his or her vocabulary.

Read with your child.  Reading to young children nurtures an interest in language, words and communication.  For older kids, reading together can be fun and interesting.  Take turns reading pages, chapters or major sections of a book.

Below is a recommended reading list. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but helping your child select a good book does not have to be a challenge. We recommend the following books and literary classics based on grade level.

Elementary School

Kindergarten:    A Play’s the Thing by Aliki

Grade 1:            Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

Grade 2:            Anansi the Spider by Gerald McDermott

Grade 3:           The Adventures of Stuart Little by Daphne Skinner

Grade 4:            In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Betsy Bao Lord

Grade 5:            Annie and the Old One by Miska Miles


Middle School

Grade 6:            You Be the Jury series by Marvin Miller

Grade 7:           The Giver by Lois Lowry

Grade 8:            20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne


High School

Grade 9:           White Fang by Jack London

Grade 10:         The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Grade 11:          Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Grade 12:          The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway



Featured Blogger

Mark Kance

Mark Kance

Mark B. Kance, M.A.T. is the Executive Director at the Hamilton Township Sylvan Learning in Hamilton New Jersey.  Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of tutoring to students of all ages, grades and skill levels with more than 30 years of experience and nearly 800 centers located throughout North America. Sylvan's trained and Sylvan-certified instructors provide personalized instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, study skills and test-prep for college entrance and state exams. Sylvan also hosts, a blog offering tips and resources from moms and education experts. For more information, call 1-800-31-SUCCESS or visit

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