How Parents Can Help Children Set Reading Goals

January 10, 2023

Set Reading Goals

Regular reading sessions at home can help children practice their reading skills, feel more confident and become more proficient readers. Reading daily also helps children immerse in a good book while exercising their minds.

Teachers and school districts might stipulate a certain amount of reading minutes that children are expected to accrue daily. While reading minutes could help children get into the reading habit, setting reading goals also is beneficial to guiding their literacy journey. Here are five ways parents can help children set reading goals to motivate them to read more and, hopefully, increase their reading proficiency and fluency, too:

  1. Focus on chapter goals
  2. Create goals based on pages read
  3. Set a book completion goal
  4. Aim to finish a series
  5. Set goals that focus on reading times

What Reading Goal Design is Best?

Children are different, and their reading habits and abilities are unique. Some children struggle to read at grade level, but others are reading proficiently or might even be reading above grade level.

When setting reading goals, parents should help children focus on goals that are challenging and attainable. Setting a goal that is too difficult to achieve could make a child feel frustrated. While goals should be challenging, they shouldn’t be impossible.

Parents might wonder what reading goal structure is best for their child. Should parents help children set goals by chapter, by pages read, by time or maybe by the number of books the child has completed? There is no one ideal goal for reading.

If a child has difficulties with reading fluently, a goal focused on pages read might be the best option. Maybe parents help children to read 10 pages daily.

Children who read fluently might set goals based on the number of pages read or the number of books they finish in a month. Younger readers might set goals based on reading minutes.

Visualizing the Goal

No matter how the reading goal is designed, children might be more motivated if they can visualize their progress. A reading chart can be motivating and rewarding to children.

Reading charts might allow children to color in boxes to denote the number of pages that they read or the number of minutes. A sticker chart could be used to show the number of books a child has completed each month. They might add a smiley face or star for every book that they finish.

Children can design their reading chart or parents can print out a chart online. Children might pick out the stickers used on their chart, too.

Set Reading Goals

Rewarding the Goal

Should parents reward children for meeting their goal? For some children, the goal is the reward. Older children might be motivated simply by the act of hitting a specific goal or accomplishment.

Younger children or those who don’t love to read or who have difficulty with reading might feel more motivated by receiving a reward when they meet their reading goal. Parents can decide what rewards are best for their child and what rewards are appropriate for each goal.

Parents could have a prize box for children to choose a toy or reward when they meet a reading goal. Some parents might allow children to earn extra privileges as a reward.

How to Set Chapter Goals

Children in third grade and above might be reading chapter books. Younger children also could begin reading chapter books, too.

Graduating to chapter books can be intimidating for some readers. These books are longer, and, depending on the book’s reading level, the chapter lengths also could be extensive. Children might set their reading goal to focus on completing one chapter each day or completing a chapter in a few days.

Some children might set more extensive reading goals. They might aim to finish a book quickly and could decide that their reading goal is to read three chapters per day.

Setting chapter goals could help these longer books seem more manageable and give children a timeline for completing the book.

Set Reading Goals

Create Goals Based on Pages Read

Children who want to finish a book in a certain amount of time also could set their goal based on pages read per day. Maybe a more voracious reading sets a goal to read 100 pages per day.

Children who might struggle with reading could use a page goal to make their reading targets more manageable. Maybe they aim to read 10 to 20 pages in a book per day or per reading session.

Page goals not only help children break up long books into smaller chunks, but it also can help children focus on immersing themselves in the story. Some children might find that they don’t want to stop once they hit their page goal; the story might become more gripping to the reader.

In addition, children can review their pages read at the end of the week or month and realize just how much they read. Over a month, a child could read thousands of pages.

Another benefit of setting a page goal is that the child could also simultaneously meet or exceed their daily reading minutes assigned from their teacher. Getting lost in a book can lead to more pages read and longer reading sessions.

Books Read Per Month

Another option for setting a reading goal is to design the goal around the number of books completed per month. This could be an ideal goal structure for younger readers or those in earlier elementary grades might be reading shorter picture books or stories. In addition, some students in upper elementary grades might love to read and could aim to read many books per month.

For younger students, parents can create a sticker chart that allows them to place a sticker for every book they completed. At the end of the month, they can count up all their stickers. Over time, they might compare the number of books they read the previous month to the current month.

Designing reading goals based on the number of books completed could help children aim to read more books each month to try to beat their previous month’s numbers. Scholastic even recommends setting a goal to read an additional book every day; this goal is ideal for young readers who are reading shorter books or to children whose parents still read aloud to them.

Aim to Finish a Book Series

There are many popular books series designed for young readers and teens, too. Each series could have an extensive number of books.

Children could set a reading goal based on completing all the books in the series. Maybe they aim to finish the series in a month or by the end of the school year. Help children set their goal and break up the series goal into manageable smaller goals. If there are 20 books in the series, perhaps children aim to read two books per month.

Smaller book series could be completed quickly. Some books in a series become longer with each new release; children might need to set page goals or chapter goals, too.

Set the Timer and Focus on Reading Minutes

For some children, the best way to set a reading goal is by basing the goal on the number of minutes they read. Younger readers might only have the attention span to read 15 minutes per day.

However, parents might help them expand their reading times by slowly adding more minutes to their goal. Over time, young readers might be able to watch as their reading time grows.

Parents might quietly watch the clock for their child instead of setting an alarm. Children might become focused on reading and might want to read longer than their set time.

Set Reading Goals

All Reading Goals Can Be Motivating

There isn’t one ideal method for creating an impactful reading goal for a child. Some children are motivated by setting goals related to the number of pages they read, others want to focus on a goal that pushes them to finish more books each month. Younger readers might find that a reading goal focused on reading minutes could be the most impactful.

No matter how children set their goals, create a reading chart to help them visualize their progress. Parents also could offer rewards related to goal completion. Reading regularly and setting reading goals can help children feel more confident, become more proficient and immerse in the reading adventure.