Young children need help selecting books that are appropriate for their individual reading level. As parents and educators we want to instill a love of reading in our children. Helping them find books that are at an “appropriate level” and a “good fit” for the child is a great place to start.
How can parents and educators help children find books that are not “too hard” and not “too easy” but “just right”?
- Open to any page in the book and read the page.
- If you encounter a word that you can’t read or don’t know the meaning of, hold up one finger.
- At the end of the page check to see how many fingers you have up and use the following chart to assess the level of this book for you: 0-1 too easy, 2-3 just right, 4-5 a little too difficult
- Still not sure if the book is a “just right” level? Use the five finger rule on one or two more pages. It is worth taking a little time before selecting a book to make sure it is a book you will enjoy.
How can children choose a book that is a “good fit” for them?
- Look at the title and cover. Does the title seem interesting?
- Read the summary and determine if the topic is something you would be interested in reading about.
- Flip through the book. Do the pictures look interesting? Are there too many or too few words on a page?
- Read two or three pages and ask yourself the following questions.
- Do I understand what I am reading?
- Do I think the topic is interesting?
- Can I explain what I have read to my friend?
- Does it pass the “Five Finger Rule”?
- When I read it aloud, can I read it smoothly?
If most your answers were “yes,” this will be a fun book to read independently.