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Finding "Just Right" Books

Selecting Books for Your Child
Finding "Just Right" Books

How can parents help their children find books that are not "too hard" and not "too easy" but instead are "just right"? Here is some advice.

Five Finger Rule

1. Choose a book that you think you will enjoy.

2. Read the second page.

3. Hold up a finger for each word you are not sure of, or do not know.

4. If there are five or more words you did not know, you should choose an easier book.

Still think it may not be too difficult. Use the five-finger rule on two more pages.

Choose a book that is a good fit for you!

*Read two or three pages and ask yourself these questions:

Will it be an easy, fun book to read?

o Do I understand what I am reading?

o Do I know almost every word?

o When I read it aloud, can I read it smoothly?

o Do I think the topic will interest me?

*If most of your answers were "yes", this will be an easy book to read independently by yourself.

Will this book be too hard for me?

o Are there five or more words on a page that I do not know, or am unsure of?

o Is this book confusing and hard to understand by myself?

o When I read it aloud, does it sound choppy and slow?

*If most of your answers were "yes", this book is too hard. You should wait awhile before you read this book. Give the book another try later or ask an adult to read the book to you.

Tips on reading with your child

When they can't read the word, say

Can you sound it out?

Finger tap it.

Can you think of the word or movement that helps you remember that vowel sound?

What is the first and last sound? What word would make sense?

Does it have a pattern that you have seen in other words? (ex-an, ack)

How does the word begin?

You said_______. Does that make sense?

What word would make sense that would start with these sounds?

Put your finger under the word as you say it.

When they want to read a book that is too hard, say

Let's read it together.

This is a book you will enjoy more if you save it until you are older or later in the year.

[Be honest!] When people read books that are too hard for them, they often skip important parts. You will have more fun with this book if you wait until you can read it easily

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Visit the local library


1. LET YOUR CHILD LEAD THE LIBRARY EXPLORATION. Follow your child around the library, see what catches her eye, and then lead her in deeper,. The trip becomes about her experience, her imagination, and her interestsmaking it more likely that she will want to return.

2. MAKE THE LIBRARY A RESOURCE FOR WHATEVER SPARKS YOUR CURIOSITY. When your child becomes curious about anything at all, you know where to head: the library!

3. TEACH YOUR CHILD THE LAY OF THE LAND. Helping your child learn landmarks in your library can increase his confidence in choosing books that interest him.

4. SO YOUR KID WILL ONLY READ CARS AND STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE? DONT WORRY. Any book read to a child provides a positive experience, no matter how old, how new, or how silly.

5. LET YOUR CHILD PICK HIS OWN BOOKS, NO MATTER WHAT THEY ARE. Research shows that kids who can choose their own books read more as they get older, and a whopping 91 percent of kids ages 6 to 17 say that my favorite books are the ones that I have picked out myself.

6. READING HAS TO BE FUNSO GO AHEAD AND LET IT BE A LITTLE NOISY. When exploring the library with your child, ask him plenty of questions about the books, the pictures, and anything else. Make him curious!

7. DONT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A GOOD BOOKMARK. Some kids that read because they get a new bookmark every time.

Resources from Colorin Colorado, Reading Rockets, Scholastic

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