Get Your Kids Excited About Books: 5 to 6 Years

Raise a book lover with our quick tips and book recommendations for reading with preschoolers.

01 of 11

Get Preschoolers to Love Books

mother reading to daughter
Image Source/ Veer

Nurture a love of books and help your kids do better in school by exposing them to reading at every age. With your preschooler, you may be reading chapter books to her, but when she's sounding out words on her own, go with easier material. Look for titles with short, rhyming words, such as Dr. Seuss's Hop on Pop or Green Eggs and Ham."Let her choose what she likes, so she'll be more motivated to read," says Kim Davenport, senior vice president of education and program at Jumpstart, a nonprofit early education organization. Praise even minor progress, and stop at the earliest sign of fatigue.

02 of 11

Have Your Child Set the Reading Pace

boy with popup book
Julie Gang

Don't worry if a book seems babyish. It's better for your child to stay within his comfort zone. He'll let you know when he's ready for the next level.

03 of 11

Expand Your Definition of Books

child reading

If your child prefers reading comic books to fairy tales, experts say that's fine. Bruce Dorries, of Staunton, Virginia, credits Pokemon cards with motivating his son to read at age 5. "Mitchell and his friends would lie on the living room floor for hours, spouting facts and poring over the tiny type, just like my brother and I used to do with baseball cards," says Dorries.

04 of 11

Take a Field Trip to Coincide with a Book

Museum of Seience, Boston, Massachusetts
Courtesy of Museum of Science

Read about plants or wildlife before going to a nature center. When you visit a science museum, pick up a book about experiments you can do at home. And if you take your kids to a historic site, see whether the gift shop has a children's title that lets them learn more about it.

05 of 11

Give "Bonus" Book Time

child reading
Blend Images/Veer

Place a lamp near your child's bed, and on weekends let her stay up 15 minutes past her regular bedtime to read.

06 of 11

Act Out The Books Your Child is Reading

girl playing dress up
Fancy Photography/Veer

Role-play the stories you've read. Search the dress-up box for a princess gown or a policeman's uniform. Let your child practice for a while, then record her performance. Play it back for the whole family.

07 of 11

Publish His Work

boy looking at photo album
Shannon Greer

Have your child take photos with a sturdy digital camera. Print them out, and then see whether he can write a story to go with them. Bind the pages between a homemade cover, and add the book to your home library.

08 of 11

Start a Kids' Book Club

reading book to children
Brooke Slezak

Invite some of your child's buddies over for a reading party. Plan a skit or an art activity. Read to them and let them take turns reading, then talk about the characters over pizza.

09 of 11

Time Her Reading

Girl holding book over her head
Quentin Bacon

If your child gets frustrated by reading aloud, set a timer for three minutes and have her stop when it buzzes, says Pam Allyn, founder of LitLife, a literary-education organization, and author of What to Read When. Add a minute every few days as her confidence builds.

10 of 11

Continue to Read to Your Preschooler

mother reading to daughter

A first-grader can often understand books written on a fourth-grade level if Mom or Dad reads them to her. Just because your child starts reading by herself doesn't mean you should stop doing it together.

11 of 11

What to Look for in Books for a 5- to 6-Year Old

child reading book
Quentin Bacon

When selecting books to read to this age group, keep these three tips in mind:

1. Pick books with no more than five unfamiliar words per page.

2. The best books for this age group are those with recurring characters and themes, such as in series like Amelia Bedelia and Arthur.

3. Select stories with longer chapters and more challenging story lines for reading together.

Originally published in the April 2010 issue of Parents magazine.

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