Follow these simple guidelines to help your child find just right books, books that they can read and comprehend independently.
Do you ever take your children to the bookstore or the library and wonder if the books that they pick out are the right reading level for them? As an experienced teacher, so many parents ask me what level books should their child be reading at home. Finding the answer to this question is much easier than you might think.
What are Just Right Books?
Just Right Books are books that a child can decode (read the words) and comprehend (understand) independently. For more information about decoding, read my post 5 tried and true decoding strategies to help your child learn to read.
How can you help your child find books that are just right to read independently?
Use this simple list of guidelines. Open up the book and find a page for your child to read. The book should be one that:
- is interesting to your child
- can be read fluently, with just a few bumpy or choppy parts
- most of the words can be decoded easily
- has no more than 2-3 challenging words on the page
- when your child does encounter a challenging word, he/she can use their reading strategies to figure it out without losing the meaning
- your child can retell to you in their own words
How do I know if it is too easy or too challenging?
As a teacher, I use the five finger rule as a guideline for my students.
Open up the book and find a page from the middle of the book. Have your child read the page and count the words they don’t know on their fingers. The guidelines are:
- 0 – 1 word: Too Easy
- 2-3 words: Just Right
- 4 words: Challenging (maybe read with support)
- 5 words: Not Yet
What if my child wants to read a book that is more challenging and they’re not ready yet?
If your child wants to read a book that is more challenging, read it to your child or with your child. Talk about the book as you are reading it. Your child will hear the fluency and intonation in your voice, as well as develop the vocabulary as it is used in context. You will create wonderful memories through books.
Consider the Content
Just because a book might be a good reading level doesn’t mean it is right for your child. Please consider that the content of the book is developmentally appropriate.
Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!