And even older kids read to youngsters—making characters come alive by changing the tone and volume of their voice.

But something goes wrong in the jump to “grown-up books”—known as the “classics,” says English teacher Amy Brecount White.

Older kids need help bringing words on pages to life, White says. Parents can promote active reading—and renew a love of reading—by doing these things:

  • Once a week, read something to your child from the newspaper. You will show that reading can be active and social.

  • Give your child books on tape. Or listen together as the professional readers use words to put pictures in your heads.

  • If your child complains about a book assigned in class, read the first part aloud to each other and talk about what you “see.”

  • Read whatever book your child is reading in class. You’ll find something interesting to discuss.

  • Turn off the TV one night a week. Read a book to your child that you liked when you were her age. Let her read something to you.

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