How to Increase Higher-Order Thinking through Reading

increase higher order thinking

Higher-order thinking skills (or HOTS) refer to the ability to think on a level that goes beyond retaining facts and knowledge. It requires children to not only remember what they have learned but to also make sense of and be able to apply new information in a practical or creative way.

Higher-order thinking equips children with the skills they need to become lifelong learners. It means they are capable of thinking critically and creatively to solve problems and make connections between new information and what they already know.

Reading is a fantastic springboard to help your child develop higher-order thinking skills. Here are some things you can do at home.

Ask the right questions – Sit down and talk to your child about books you’ve read together. Ask questions that prompt higher-order thinking (e.g. ‘Why do you think…?’, ‘Why was it better that…?’), rather than knowledge-based questions (e.g. What is…?, How is…?, Where is…?)

Encourage creative and opinionated discussion – Make it a daily habit to talk about books and reading. Prompt critical and creative thinking by offering your own opinion and ideas, followed by questions such as, ‘Do you agree with the actions?’, ‘What would happen in…?’, or ‘What would you suggest…?’

Brainstorm solutions to problems and dilemmas – Higher-order thinking involves the ability to apply knowledge in order to solve problems. Encourage your child to point out specific problems that a character is facing in a book and suggest solutions. A good idea is to brainstorm possible solutions on a large sheet of paper before finishing the rest of the book.

Draw pictures – The ability to use visual imagery (e.g. picturing what the setting and characters look like while reading a book) is helpful to children in a range of different learning areas, including science, geography and mathematics. Read books, or parts of books, that don’t include pictures, and ask your child to create drawings that represent different characters, scenes, or events.

Encourage your child to understand multiple viewpoints – After you read a story, talk about how certain events might impact different characters. A fun exercise includes writing or role-playing the story from a different character’s perspective. Developing empathy and understanding different viewpoints and consequences is an important part of higher-order thinking.

Write or draw an alternative ending – Help your child write and illustrate an alternative ending to a book you’ve read together.

Sort books into genres – Looking for common themes among a group is a way for your child to flex their higher-order thinking skills. Help your child arrange their books into genres (e.g. adventure, mystery, science-fiction, nonfiction).

Make a collection around a specific theme – After you’ve read a book together, help your child find objects, magazine clippings, or newspaper headlines that relate to a particular theme featured in the book.

Write a story based on just pictures – Find a picture book your child hasn’t read and cover the text using bits of paper attached to reusable adhesive (e.g. Blue-Tack). Go through the pictures with your child and help them write out the story for each page.

Reading Eggspress is the online education website for ages 7-13 that builds children’s literacy, comprehension and higher-order thinking skills with interactive lessons, e-books and activities. Try it today, along with Reading Eggs, with a special free trial here.

How to Tell If Your Child Is Ready for Chapter Books

when is a child ready for chapter books

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Opening the door to chapter books is an exciting milestone for both you and your child. It means they are ready to make a giant leap into faraway places and expand their imagination even further, with less reliance on pictures.

There are several skills children need to acquire before transitioning to longer chapter books. Diving in before your child is ready can risk diminishing their enthusiasm for reading and lower their reading confidence.

Here are some indicators that your child is ready to start reading longer chapter books:

1. They remember what they have read

Chapter books usually require breaking up a story over several sittings, so it’s important that your child can remember what they have read a few days, or even a week later.

The day after you have read a new book with your child, ask them questions about the story, the characters, and the events. A good idea is to encourage them to tell the story – in the right order – to a younger sibling or a relative. You can also help your child role-play the story using fun props, or to draw picture of key events and arrange them into chronological order. Read tips on how to tell if your child is reading for meaning.

2. They can make predictions about stories

Part of the excitement of reading chapter books is anticipating what might happen next. The ability to make predictions about a story signifies that your child has the comprehension skills needed to fully understand what they read. To encourage your child to make predictions, stop periodically while reading to ask them what might happen next. Readers with strong comprehension skills will be able to take what they have already read and use that information to make predictions.

3. They can picture stories in their head without visual aids

Chapter books rely less on pictures and illustrations to create details about a story. Before reading chapter books with your child, see if your child can sum up or illustrate a story they’ve just read without looking at any of the pictures.

4. They know how to choose books

Reading longer stories means that your child needs to be able to stay interested long enough to reach the end. By the time your child transitions to chapter books, they would ideally have a preference, whether it be a particular genre (e.g. comedy, adventure, history) or subject matter. Let them choose which books they want to read and help them choose by looking at the cover, reading the back blurb, scanning the text (font size, paragraph length), and deciding if it’s a book they want to read.

5. They are equipped with enough vocabulary

Your child should know enough words to embark on longer chapter books. Reading a book with too many unfamiliar words can hurt their confidence and motivation. Remember to use the five finger rule before starting a new book. Your child should also be able to use context clues to determine the meaning of words they don’t know. Try these tips to build your child’s vocabulary at home.

Some other tips to consider when introducing your child to chapter books:

  • start with shorter chapters – avoid taking on too much too soon, and ease in with shorter reading sessions
  • choose books with some pictures – chapters books with pictures and illustrations will ease the transition
  • talk about the book and make predictions – between sittings, have daily conversations about the story and what you think might happen next
  • show them how to recap – pick up where you left off between sittings by showing your child how to revisit the last chapter and refresh your memory
  • don’t move away from picture books – continue reading picture books with your child and maintain reading variety

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Here’s how to upgrade your story time technique

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Reading stories is a powerful way to nurture closeness with your child, inspire their imagination, and set them up for a lifelong love of reading.

But it doesn’t always come naturally. Sometimes when a long day gets the better of us, we get tempted to rush through from cover to cover, skip a few pages, or lose our audience’s attention with a flat and uninspired tone.

It’s important to make story time fun and engaging. Showing your child how great it is to read will help them grow into a confident reader. And for many parents, story time is a beloved family ritual–one that should be cherished for however long your child is willing to take part.

Here’s what you can do to turn story time into a magical experience, every time.

Don’t rush

The most important thing to do is take your time and read at a steady pace. Young children need time to take in what they hear, and remember, children will pick up any slight hint of irritability or impatience. If you’re short on time, choose a short book or spread a longer book over several nights.

Set the right atmosphere

Switch off your phone. Remove distractions. Create an atmosphere where it’s just you, your child, and a wonderful story to get lost in. Make sure you have good lighting so that both of you can clearly see the words and pictures.

Use expression

You don’t need to have done drama classes to be good at this one. Use different facial expressions, make eye contact, and use body language. Hold up the book in one hand and use the other for gestures. Bring to life all of the characters and emotions in the story.

Do the voices

How did the Grinch sound when he vowed to steal Christmas? Or what about the giant who caught Jack climbing up his magical beanstalk? It doesn’t matter how bad you think you are, your child will more than appreciate your efforts to make every character sound unique.

Choose rhymes

Books with great rhymes, rhythm and pace are fun to read and listen to. Before you read, get familiar with the structure in your head. Quicken your pace when you describe action verbs and place an emphasis on rhyming words. Pamela Allen, Mem Fox and Dr Seuss are some fabulous picks.

Sound effects

When you reach an onomatopoeic word, like buzz, hiss, meow, cuckoo, honk, or boom, go on and make it convincing! Watch your child burst into laughter or jump with surprise–the emotions you give them are part of what makes story time memorable.


Engaging your child by making simple remarks (e.g. ‘Wow!’, ‘That was lucky!’), talking about the pictures, or asking questions (e.g. ‘What could happen next?’) is a great way to make story time interactive and build your child’s listening and comprehension skills.

Be suspenseful and build excitement for the next story time

Slow down and stop before turning each page. Building up suspense is a great way to leave your eager audience wanting more, and get them looking forward to many more story times to come!

Reading Eggs is the award-winning online reading program that makes learning to read easy and fun for young children. The program includes fun games, exciting rewards, and self-paced lessons that children find highly engaging and encouraging.

Special free trial offer: Start your free trial of Reading Eggs here and see how your child’s reading confidence improves in just weeks.

15 Simple Ways to Boost Your Child’s Reading Confidence

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SPECIAL OFFER: Claim your free trial of Reading Eggs here and see how your child’s reading confidence improves with self-paced online reading lessons, fun activities and games.

For children who struggle with reading, opening a book or reading in front of their peers in class can be an incredibly daunting experience.

Reading confidence matters. Developing reading proficiency is essential for achieving overall success in school, and children who shy away from reading are likely to encounter even greater obstacles in the future.

To nurture a child’s self-esteem it’s important for parents to be patient and encouraging. Here are some simple ways to boost your child’s reading confidence and put them on the right path towards a lifelong love of reading.

1. Appreciate the sweat and tears. Struggling with reading can be both mentally and emotionally exhausting for a child. Make it clear that you acknowledge their effort when they try.

2. Give them control. Visit a bookstore or library and let them choose their own books. Allow them to choose where to read and at what time in the day. Give your child some freedom and space to figure out what works best for them.

3. Bond. Laugh together. Pause and talk about the pictures. Forget about reading practice and focus more on enjoying the quality time together. Sooner or later, they’ll start associating reading with positive things.

4. Make a game out of it. There are so many fun reading games you can play with your child every single day to build up their confidence. Online reading programs like Reading Eggs give children the opportunity to progress at their own pace with the aid of bright animations, high-level interactivity and motivating rewards.

5. Talk excitedly about books. Show your child how fun it is to read by talking enthusiastically about books every day. Ask questions about books you’ve read together and discuss the parts you liked best.

6. Make it relevant. Demonstrate the usefulness of reading by making it as relevant as possible. Going to a natural history museum? Read a book about animals. Baking a delicious cake? Read the ingredients you need from a recipe.

7. Don’t push too hard. Challenging your child every now and then is great, but if your child wants to read the same book for the twentieth time, allow it. Let them feel proud about reading a book from cover to cover without needing your help. This is important for building their confidence.

8. Do paired reading every day. It should go without saying, but reading together every day is one of the most helpful ways you can build your child’s confidence. Take turns reading each page or give them one word in each line to read.

9. Give privacy. Allow your child some alone time to read without any fear of judgement. They won’t have to worry about taking too long to finish a line or getting stuck on a word.

10. Read to the family dog or cat. Companion animals make the perfect audience and eliminate the fear of being judged. If you don’t have an animal at home, your child can read to a younger sibling or even to their toys.

11. Show them that struggle is normal. Don’t fret over hiding your own weaknesses, in fact, letting your child see you get stuck on certain words will help them understand that struggle is normal, even for grownups.

12. Don’t overcorrect. Resist the temptation to correct small mistakes. Remember, the overall goal is to build confidence. There will be plenty of opportunities to work on accuracy and fluency later.

13. Praise. No matter what level your child is at, remind yourself how far they’ve come, even if they’ve made relatively small progress. Praise constantly. It will encourage them to keep improving.

14. Write your own books together. Home-made books are a fantastic way to build your child’s fluency. After all, reading a familiar story is great fun! Start with a few words, some drawings or photos on each page, and a simple title, like ‘Sarah’s First Trip to the Beach’.

15. Look beyond books. Building your child’s reading confidence doesn’t have to come from books. Comics, video games, trading cards, board games, shopping lists, cereal boxes – you name it – are all things your child can read to build up their self-esteem.

Reading Eggs is the award-winning online reading program that makes learning to read easy and fun for young children. The program includes fun games, exciting rewards, and self-paced lessons that children find highly engaging and encouraging.

Special free trial offer: Start your free trial of Reading Eggs here and see how your child’s reading confidence improves in just weeks.

How to Get Your Kids Reading More This Year

encourage children to read

We all want to instil a love of reading in our children, and what better way to start than with a fresh new year!

Reading offers a wealth of benefits for young children – it grows their vocabulary, builds their comprehension skills, expands their knowledge and understanding of the world, and gives them a better chance at succeeding in school. And it’s no secret – the more you read, the better you become at it.

Here are ten simple and achievable ways to get your children reading more books this year.

1. Create a reading nook at home – set up a special place completely dedicated to reading. It can be as simple as installing a few cosy pillows, a nightlight, and a few sturdy bookshelves.

2. Make time – Avoid overscheduling your child’s calendar with extra activities this year. You want to ensure they have enough time to sift through their bookshelves and regularly enjoy a long, leisurely read.

3. Make bedtime reading a part of your daily routine – Reading together is a powerful way to bond and encourage your child to adopt a positive attitude towards books and reading. Set aside some time each evening to enjoy a bedtime story and take turns reading to each other.

4. Visit the library or download a children’s books app – Make regular trips to the library or download a books app to give your kids a library of book titles at the swipe of their fingertips. Reading Eggs includes over 2000 online books for kids, many with read aloud options.

5. Make a family book tree – Sharing a joint family reading goal is a great way to encourage everyone at home to read. Cut out the shape of a tree from large construction paper and include a few branches. Throughout the year, each family member can add a leaf for every book read, until all the branches are full.

6. Explore new books genres together – Mix things up by delving into genres you haven’t tried before, like science-fiction, mystery, non-fiction, biographies, historical fiction, and poetry.

7. Stay open-minded about your book choices – Be flexible with what you allow your children to read. Comic books, joke books and magazines can be a great way to encourage reluctant readers, and offer their own unique benefits.

8. Watch more movies based on books – Studies show that movie releases spur many children to read the book version first. Reading a story before watching it on the big screen is a feat many children love to achieve, and it gives them a lot to talk about with their friends.

9. Talk about books at home and become a reading role model – Make books a part of your daily conversation. Talk about different characters, connections to real life, predictions you make, and what you want to read next. Let your kids see you reading and enjoying books in your spare time.

10. Leave a range of reading material around the house – Dr Seuss sums this up perfectly: “Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks!”

Reading Eggs is the multi-award winning online reading program that makes learning to read fun. With over 2000 online books for kids, hundreds of guided reading lessons, fun games, lovable characters, and exciting rewards, start your child’s reading journey with a free trial today!