How To Help Children Become Independent Readers


‘Independent reading, both at school and at home, builds successful readers. What’s more, the research shows that giving our students a say in what they read is key. And from our experience, we also know frequent reading leads to becoming a proficient reader, which helps a child thrive personally and academically.’

Back in October 2020 I discussed the topic of children choosing their own books versus parents, guardians or teachers choosing for them. I showed that younger children may need some guidance but as children develop their reading skills they should have a definite say in what they read.

‘Classroom-based independent reading programs that invite reading choice and promote reading pleasure give rise to kids who not only read but, more importantly, who want to read..’http://’

Access To Books And Reading Time

Schools and parents/guardians can foster independent reading by providing time and individual choice plus giving children access to a wide variety of books. This is why classroom libraries, school libraries, public libraries and the collection of books we have in our homes is so important. For those children who may be book deprived at home and who may come from families where reading is not encouraged, having access to books at school and a time dedicated to reading them becomes paramount.

A Gradual Process

(In a blog by Ashley Austrew

‘The good news, says Susan Neuman, a professor of childhood education and literacy development at New York University, is that helping children become independent readers is actually a very gradual change. She shared some important tips and reminders for parents as we make the triumphant transition from being full-time narrators to having young children who know how to read.’ (

  • Don’t stop reading to your children – ‘Even though children can read independently, it doesn’t mean they’re ready to transition fully to solo reading time. “Children love to have the audience of being able to read aloud. They want to show off to their parents as they become more facile in reading,” says Neuman, “…but for those kids who are transitioning to reading, [usually around] age 7 through age 9, parents need to remember that reading is still not that easy.”
  • Find new ways to challenge your children – Children who are beginning to read independently shouldn’t be restricted to only reading books that are easy. “Reading to children and reading more sophisticated books with greater language and more abstract language is still really important,” says Neuman. One major way that Neuman recommends doing this is by reading chapter books together…

Building The Bridge To Independent Reading

There are children that will take to reading like a duck to water but there will be reluctant readers, readers with specific or general learning disabilities and children that aren’t motivated to read. The ability to read is very important in a child’s learning as it helps develop the processes of deciphering, using language, comprehension and expression of language and is needed in all areas of education and employment. Here are some pointers from

  • Modeling independent reading 
  • Schedule reading time
  • Talk about what they are reading
  • Use books as a reward 
  • Set reading goals
  • Use audiobooks
  • Get a virtual reading tutor 

2 thoughts on “How To Help Children Become Independent Readers”

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