Just Read, Families!

“"The gift of literacy is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Books can have a profound and lasting impact on the reader and I encourage Florida families to take every opportunity to make reading a part of their daily lives.” ~Florida's First Lady Ann Scott

Suggestions to help build your child's reading skills:


  • Read to your baby for short periods several times a day. As you read, point out things in the pictures. Name them as you point to them. Cardboard or cloth books with large simple pictures of things with which babies are familiar are the best books to begin with.

Children Ages 1-4

  • Talk with your child as you read together. Point to pictures and name what is in them. When he is ready, ask him to do the same. Ask him about his favorite parts of the story, and answer his questions about events or characters.
  • Wherever you are with your child, point out individual letters in signs, billboards, posters and books. When she is 3 to 4 years old, ask her to begin finding and naming some letters.

Children, Kindergarten

  • Read predictable books to your child. Teach him to hear and say repeating words, such as names for colors, numbers, letters and animals. Predictable books help children to understand how stories progress. A child easily learns familiar phrases and repeats them, pretending to read.
  • Practice the sounds of language by reading books with rhymes and playing simple word games (i.e. How many words can you make up that sound like the word “bat”?)

Children, First Grade

  • Point out the letter-sound relationships your child is learning on labels, boxes, newspapers and magazines.
  • Listen to your child read words and books from school. Be patient and listen as he practices. Let him know you are proud of his reading.

Children, Second & Third Grade

  • Build reading accuracy by having your child read aloud and point out words she missed and help her read words correctly. If you stop to focus on a word, have your child reread the whole sentence to be sure she understands the meaning.

*Taken from the U.S. Department of Education “Helping Your Child Become A Reader” and The Partnership for Reading “Put Reading First” publications.

Recommended Reading

Age: 2-4

  • Runaway Bunny - Margaret Wise Brown
  • A House for Hermit Crab - Eric Carle

Age: 5-7

  • Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak
  • Is Your Mama a Llama? - Deborah Guarino

Age: 8-10

  • Freckle Juice - Judy Blume
  • Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh

Age: 11 and up

  • Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis

If you'd like to recommend a book, please email us at: JustRead@fldoe.org

Other Great Sources for Parents:

Parent Tips (PDF)
Suggestions and tips for parents of school age students.

Helping Parents Promote Literacy Skills
An informative article on how to influence a child's reading development at home

The Achiever
A U.S. Department of Education No Child Left Behind newsletter for parents.

Sunrise Skill Builders (PDF)
Guidelines for physical, language, intellectual and other milestones for ages birth to 5 years.

Helping your Child Become a Reader
A guidebook on how to promote reading at home.

Summer Reading Activities Kit (PDF)
Great tips for reading this summer!

No Child Left Behind
Tips and Resources -- The Partnership

A Guide for Parents - En Español (PDF)
How Do I Know a Good Early Reading Program When I See One?

Florida Public Libraries

Reading begins at home

Strong parental involvement is a key component of the Just Read, Florida! initiative. Other than helping your children to grow up happy and healthy, the most important thing that you can do for them is help them develop their reading skills.

Here are some sources to get you started:

  • Clifford Reading Tips for Parents (PDF)
    Clifford the Big Red Dog has some great tips for parents about the five essential components of reading. Thanks to our partnership with Scholastic, we are happy to share these with you.
  • Reading Intervention Curriculum (PDF)
    Whether reading mentors or classroom teachers, this curriculum is a great guide that includes an overview of current reading research and weekly lessons for intermediate struggling readers.
  • Teen Trendsetter Reading Mentor Curriculum (PDF)
    Lessons and accompanying mentoring notes designed to provide reading tutoring as a primary activity during mentoring sessions with 3rd grade students at different reading levels.

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