I know that a lot of you have older children who can already read. But maybe reading doesn’t come easy for your child. Maybe reading is difficult, boring, not on your child’s list of favorite things to do. Rest assured, you are not alone.
One of many important things to remember when selecting books for your child is the “JUST RIGHT” rule. We teachers typically place books into three categories for kids: EASY, JUST RIGHT, or CHALLENGING.
Silent reading time typically calls for JUST RIGHT BOOKS. During independent reading, children are left to practice their reading strategies on their own. If these books are too challenging, reading will be cumbersome and NOT fun. Instead, reading will cause frustration. If you want your child to learn to enjoy reading, please don’t hand them Harry Potter when they are certainly not ready for it.
So how you do know when a book is JUST RIGHT for your child?
- First and foremost, be sure your child is reading something he or she finds interesting. Have your child make a list of things that they like and go from there! Non-fiction is a great choice if your child has some good interests! What about National Geographic for Kids? Sports Illustrated for Kids?
- Remember the Five Finger Rule: Open the book to any page. Have your child read it. Have your child keep track of the number of unknown or difficult words on the page. If there are five or more words, pick an EASIER book. (Still unsure, try the same trick on another page of the book.)
- When your child reads any of the book aloud, does he or she sound choppy and slow? If so, it’s probably not the right fit. They should sound fluent.
Having your child read at their independent level is so very important for keeping the momentum going. That way, they are able to practice their reading strategies independently and conquer new vocabulary words on their own. Does your child know the Five Finger Rule? You should ask them!