Choosing "Just Right" Books for Your Child to Read
Reading is one of the most important things your child can do each day to help him or her succeed. Your students should be reading AT LEAST 20 minutes a day, from books that are age and level appropriate. If children are not reading books at their own level, however, they are defeating the purpose of reading at all. As we have talked with many of you during conferences, many of you have asked for some guidance in helping your child find appropriate books. Please look over the tips on how to help your child find a "Just Right" book and over the book lists.
Tips to ensure your child is reading a "Just Right" book:
- Have your child use the "five finger test" to see if the vocabluary is just right. (Your child reads one whole page from the middle of the book and counts the number of words he or she stumbles on and doesn't know. If it is more than five it is just right. If he or she gets them all or misses only one or two the book is just right.)
- Help your child look through the book for the size of the print and the number of pictures — these should be similar to other books your child has successfully read or similar to the books on the list below.
- Encourage your child to read the back cover or inside fly of the book before beginning reading to determine whether the book would be interesting — it is ok to abandon a book occasionally, but not every week!
- Encourage your child to read at least the first few chapters before deciding to abandon a book — some books may have a slow beginning.
Parks, Melinda (2010). Choosing books that are just right. Learning NC. Website: http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/658.