Want to know what will help your child the most as she progresses beyond third grade? Reading to your child will have the greatest benefit. The reason? Experts tell us there is a difference between our spoken and written vocabulary. Children will have a hard time reading words that they have never heard. Most schools begin to introduce books that are written in literary language after third grade. If you want your child to keep up, the best thing you can do is start reading to them. For example, from Louisa May Alcott’s book Little Women, we read, “she was transfixed upon the threshold by a spectacle which held her there.” How often would you actually say in conversation the words “transfixed” “spectacle” or even “threshold?” These are the kinds of words that your child needs to know in order to be successful in advanced English classes. Historical novels, adventure stories, science fiction books, or even fairy tales will expose your child to the structure and vocabulary of literature. Start with a book that interests your child. Even older children will enjoy being read to while they work on a drawing, or have a snack. “Reading the first two chapters of a book together can help, because these are often the toughest in terms of plot,” notes Susan Becker, M. Ed. Start as soon as you can for the greatest benefit.