• Open Book  

    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 vocabulary 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.


    Commonly Used Comprehension Strategies

    When reading with your child, have him/her use these comprehension strategies:

    • Always ask yourself, "Does this make sense?"
    • Predict what will come next
    • Check predictions to see if you are right
    • Reread to see if that helps you understand
    • Read ahead to see if the author gives information that will help you
    • Ask why the author is giving you this information
    • Draw comparisons between the text and your own life (we call these text-to-self connections!)
    • Connect new information in the text to what you already know
    • See if the unfamiliar word may be related to a word you already know
    • Stop and see if you can state the author's major point
    • Explain why the author is using this order to present information
    • Substitute a known word that makes sense for an unknown word
    • Make sure you understand how drawings and tables go with the text
    • Ask how this information relates to earlier information