Why Magazine Subscriptions Make a Great Gift for Kids {Avoiding the Fourth Grade Slump}

Kids Love Stories

From birth and beyond, fiction is presented to us and typically, this is where we fall in love with reading. Once Upon a Time … are the words we look for when we know something wonderful is about to happen. We get to travel to distant lands, meet magical creatures and go on daring adventures. Our children feel the same way!

Telling Jokes

Fourth Grade Slump

Up until about 4th grade, children read primarily fiction literature in school and in what seems to come out of nowhere, they’re hit with the expectation to begin reading “to learn” instead of “learning to read.” They need to derive information from the text, there may not always be a clear beginning, middle and end and to top it all off, these newly presented texts almost never have dragons. By about fourth grade, kids are expected to use context for comprehension and understand complex language structures. If not adequately prepared, their performance and comprehension may be affected.

How Magazine Subscriptions Can Help

Expository or informational text can be found in history, geography, science and technology books. The problem tends to be getting your kids interested in these types of materials. After purchasing countless unread non-fiction titles for my children, I realized I was probably overwhelming them. So how could I get them to read informational text and build the skills to help avoid the Fourth Grade Slump? Magazines! Magazines have great structure, shorter (and less overwhelming) passages, incredible graphics, maps and graphs. Kids learn on their own how to navigate through the content. They use tools they’re familiar with (like the table of contents) to access the content they prefer. Most importantly, they can be tailored to their individual preferences such as sports, outdoors, fashion or animals. Magazines help kids transition slowly into reading for information while still entertaining them!


Our Favorite Magazines

Highlights & High Five – High Five is for ages 2-6 and is a great way to get kids into reading to learn. Highlights (Yes! The same Highlights we got as kids!) is intended for ages 6-12. My kids are 3, 4, 9 & 11 and they all look forward to these magazines my mom gifts them at Christmas every year.

Lego Magazine is great for boys and girls of all ages, but mine got into this a bit more around 5 years old. The older two really take the time to read and explore this magazine. I see the skill-building take place as they retell facts and explain something they’ve read using a graph on a page.

Boys Life This is by far, my 9 & 11 year olds’ favorite magazine. Inside, you’ll find lots of how-to articles, recipes, a section for jokes, polls and outdoor adventure content. This magazine isn’t just for Boy Scouts.

Disney Junior Magazine I’ll be honest, the girls (3 & 4) just flip through this and I read them the content. BUT they are getting exposed to the different text structures and building great habits that will carry them forward into their later years!  Plus, I get to see what’s in store for Sophia the First next season, so…

Travel + Leisure  My 9-year old loves this magazine and searches for it every time we go to the doctor’s office. He enjoys looking at the getaway destinations and reading about fun facts such as “Top 50 Places to Live.”

Gameinformer This is for the bigger kids (which includes my husband) and gives details on their favorite PS4 games. They flip through it, often discuss what they find and share it with their friends. It helps to create excitement around this type of reading material, so I’m all for it!

Wapiti If your kids are in French Immersion school, this is a great magazine entirely in French. They can practice their target language and develop the same skill building in French! It’s got activities, quizzes and fun facts, too.

The Gift of Reading (for information!)

This year, consider gifting your child (or grandchild, or niece or cousin) a magazine subscription this year. Not only will they build great skills but they will get new content every month. There are so many options to choose from and you’ll be helping to develop their habits and avoid that dreaded Fourth Grade Slump.

What are your family’s favorite magazines? Share with us in the comments!


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