In school, your child is reading poetry, plays, and fiction, starting to complete book reports, and reading to learn. She may also be making trips to the library with her class and selecting her own books. To foster a love for reading, fill your home library with a wide variety of nonfiction and fiction books that she can enjoy.
How does the book look?
Chapter books for this age group often have pictures within them to make the transition between picture and chapter books easier. Text should be printed slightly bigger than adult books, so your child's eyes follow the lines easily.
Is it the right reading level?
Check with your child's teacher to find out your child's reading level. Many chapter books for elementary schoolers have information on the book indicating what grades or ages it is appropriate for. Use these guidelines to check if the vocabulary in a book is at the right level.
Will your child enjoy it?
Your child is developing his own preferences for reading materials — finding favorite authors, genres, and styles — and you should allow and encourage him to tell you what books he wants to read. Encourage him to explore favorite subjects through literature and nonfiction.
Award-winners, especially Newbery Honor and Medal winners, are another trustworthy and engaging option. The subjects are varied, the vocabulary rich, and the adolescent-focused storylines will engage your child's imagination and widen her view of the world around her.
Grade-by-grade ideas for selecting books:
Collecting and telling jokes is many a 3rd grader's pastime. Encourage your young comedian by giving her joke books and watch her memorization skills improve as she commits a routine to memory. Comic books will interest many elementary-school readers, though check to make sure the comic isn't too complex or dark.
To show the delight and fun that words can be, introduce your child to poetry. The poems of Jack Prelutsky and especially Shel Silverstein are both humorous and inventive in their use of language. Poetry collections for young readers will introduce concepts of meter, rhyme, metaphor, and simile, which are important comprehension skills.
Your upper-elementary-school child is becoming interested in the science of the world around him and about the way things work. Foster an interest in nonfiction with books about dinosaurs, bugs, outer space, volcanoes, and whatever else tickles his mind. Find books with colorful pictures and illustrations matched with simple text.