It’s probably not much of a surprise that kids tend to read less as they get older. Studies have shown that a little over half of nine-year-olds (53%) read every day. By the time they reach the age of 17, only 17% of them are choosing to read every day. There seems to be a significant drop in the number of kids reading daily between middle school and high school. One of the reasons kids don’t like to read and choose not to read is that their comprehension is lacking. Here are a few ways to intervene early, and help your 6th grader with their reading comprehension.

1. Help them choose from the best books for 6th graders.
Start by helping your child choose a novel. The best books for middle school students are going to be books that they like — something they’ll want to read. Middle school book lists generally feature novels with conventional heroes who kids can emulate and identify with — kids tend to read more when they can personally relate to a story. Inspirational books for students can help them on a personal level as well as a comprehension level as well.

2. Teach good habits.
After you’ve chosen a book that will engage your child and make them want to read, it’s going to help their comprehension to teach good habits while they’re reading. Tell them to ask questions while they’re reading. Show them how to use a dictionary to look up vocabulary words they don’t know. Encourage them to write things down while they are reading — thoughts, questions, or important plot points that might help them understand the overall story.

3. Engage in discussion.
Only half of teens say that their friends are book readers and that they talk about books together, so it helps to cultivate this habit at home as well. After each reading session, ask your child questions about the novel — what is the main character overcoming? What are his or her obstacles? If you’re reading from inspirational books for students, ask how the story can apply to your child’s life and if they see any parallels. Ask your child to make predictions about what could come next in the book and why they think that’s possible.

Do you have any tips for helping boost a sixth grader’s reading comprehension? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments section below.