Reading Tips for Big Kids

Isn’t it wonderful when children have a love of reading? A passion for reading lasts a lifetime and brings the whole world to our fingertips.

As parents I think it is common that we invest a lot of time and energy into helping our children learn to read in those early years but once they are confident and independent readers we often leave them to their own devices.

Are there things we can be doing with our bigger kids to help them continue to get the most from the reading?Reading Tips For Big Kids - help promote a life long love of reading.

I think there are and would love to share some simple reading tips with you that are easy to incorporate into day-to-day reading activities.

One of my favourite ways to support reading in a class or at home is with a High-Five For Reading celebratory wall.

Get hands-on with reading. Reading Tips for all kids on World Book Day or any day!

First we simply cut out card handprints that can be used as bookmarks. The children love that they are fun and personal to them. Here’s Biscuit, who wanted to be French for the day, preparing his next bookmark!

Get hands-on with reading. Reading Tips for all kids on World Book Day or any day!

The joy of these simple bookmarks is that you can write a short challenge/target on to the palm and the children use the fingers to record their success. It’s really easy to target the task to the needs, abilities and interests of the individual child and recording on fingers breaks things down into manageable chunks for the children.

For example,  for a young reader just starting out, you might want to be encouraging them to read every day after school. You can use the High-Five Book Mark to colour in or draw a smiley face on a finger when they read on Monday, then another finger when they have read on Tuesday etc. When the child has completed their hand they can pop it up on the High-Five wall to show off their success.

A celebratory High-Five Wall is a great way to break reading tasks down into manageable chunks and because it is so hands-on children can actually feel and see their progress. You might like to add a reward structure to it too, and offer a treat for every 5 hands completed perhaps?

Hands-On Challenge Ideas For Early Readers

Here’s some ideas for labelling the palm of the hands for early or reluctant readers to encourage regular reading. Choose a task the right size for your child to succeed and build up the task level slowly.

  • I read a sentence on my own. (Decorate a finger each time it’s completed)
  • I read a page on my own.
  • I read a chapter.
  • Books I have read.
  • Draw a character on each finger.
  • Draw something that happened in the story.

Hands-On Challenge Ideas For Established Readers

Once your child is up and running with reading you can use the High Five idea to encourage them to really think about what they’re reading and the kind of words they’re coming across.

Here are some of my favourite palm labels, I’m sure you’ll be able to think of lots of your own too.

  • New words.
  • Great adjectives.
  • Great adverbs.
  • Synonym hunt e.g. words to use instead of ‘said’.
  • Tricky spellings.
  • Words that rhyme with…
  • Words to look up in the dictionary.
  • Words beginning with…
  • Words ending with…

As you can see it’s easy to adjust the task to the needs and ability of your child. I love that the High-Five idea can be adapted for short and long tasks and changed for each book or even each chapter, in fact as often as you like.

Perhaps the children will enjoy setting their own challenges too? My youngest likes looking out for long words when he’s reading and will often set himself the challenge of spotting words with 8 or more letters. a great and simple way to expand his vocabulary.

What if you have a reluctant reader?

The High-Five idea works really well for reluctant readers too. You can easily break the steps down into manageable chunks so instead of recording each new book onto a finger you can make the task much smaller and maybe do a sentence a finger, or a page a finger. That way a reluctant reader has small goals that they can actually reach and quickly gain the reward of a High-Five for the wall. Perhaps you could add an additional incentive and offer a celebratory reward when they have reached 3 High-Fives?

Do We Need To Read Out Loud To Fluent Readers?

My last tip is to encourage you to continue to read out loud to your children even if they are fluent readers. Why? Loads of reasons:

  • It’s snuggly, cuddly good and gives you quality time together.
  • It helps develop their auditory stamina. Concentrating, listening and digesting information over long periods is tiring and children need to practise this. A good auditory stamina and attention span will help them enormously in school across all subjects areas.
  • Whatever their reading ability it is great to read a story aloud to them that is just above their level. This might be introducing a younger reader to a first non-picture book, right up to introducing your teen to Dickens. All the time you will be stretching their comprehension skills, and expanding their vocabulary range.
  • By reading out loud you drip feed lots of reading tips to them and can model how to manage a tricky word or text and what to do if you come across an unknown word.By reading out loud yourself it’s a great way to encourage readers of all ages to read out loud too. This helps them become well paced and expressive readers themselves. This can help them feel confident about speaking publicly and may even inspire a love of theatre and acting too.
  • Sharing books together is a great way to really talk about what you’ve read and share ideas and opinions. Ask each other questions about the text. How is such and such a character feeling? What from the text tells us this? What do you think is going to happen next? Why? Encouraging children to consider texts in this way will really help them develop their own writing skills and styles too.
  • It’s a great way to chat about your personal ideas, feelings and beliefs. When my daughter reached her teens I found sharing books a great way in to discussing lots of thoughts and feelings that otherwise just may not have come up in day-to-day conversations. It was a great way to really touch base, share and support my increasingly independent daughter. I will endeavour to continue to do the same with my boys right through their teens too.

Get hands-on with reading. Reading Tips for all kids on World Book Day or any day!

I hope you’ve found these reading tips useful for World Book Day or indeed any day of the year!

Here are some of my related Pinterest Boards you might like to follow:

This board has lots of reading tips and book list ideas.

Follow Emma (My Little 3 and Me)’s board Learn to Read on Pinterest.

Here are lots of ideas for having fun telling stories for World Book Day or any day!

Follow Emma (My Little 3 and Me)’s board Story Time on Pinterest.

This board is perfect if you are looking for World Book Day Costumes.

Follow Emma (My Little 3 and Me)’s board Let’s Dress Up! on Pinterest.

Follow Emma (My Little 3 and Me)’s board Language and Communication Development on Pinterest.


For World Book Day I’m delighted to be joining some other great bloggers, equally passionate about bringing a love of reading into the lives of children. Do take a peek at all the wonderful ideas they have.

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  1. says

    I love those handprints…what a great idea. I can imagine my oldest 2 really loving making these which would inspire them to look at them. Thank you for sharing!

  2. says

    Great idea! I will definitely keep this in mind as my boys get older, and could try a hand with some simple tasks on it now for my 5 year old :)

  3. says

    I love the hand prints idea. I love reading out loud with my children. It gives me the opportunity to ask questions and make sure they are understanding the text and not just reading it.

  4. says

    What a great idea, such a lovely post too. We have a 3 year old who absolutely loves books now, this sounds like a brilliant way of ensuring that continues when she’s older. Thank you so much for sharing :)

  5. says

    I am not convinced you can make a reader out of a child who doesn’t seem to be interested in books. I treated all three of mine the same and only really one of them has taken to reading in a big way. One of the things I have always done is told my children that when they go to bed, they can read for 30 minutes, I don’t give them any alternatives! I also think it helps for them to see us choosing to read in our spare time. They do learn from us after all. Lovely post :)

  6. says

    Such a great post! I love the high five idea. I got some great post it notes from So easy but lots of scope for different ways of using it.

    I’m so pleased your teens still enjoy reading books together. I was worrying mine wouldn’t want to anymore but it’s such a lovely time together and such an important part of our routine I don’t want it to end!

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