How to Pick Out A Book for Your Child That’s “Just Right”

“It is critical that students read ‘just right’ books,” said Persell Middle School Reading Specialist Lisa Stahlman-Colby. “If they are reading books that are too easy or too hard, all the extra time parents spend reading at home will not translate into the classroom. If a parent wishes to learn more about their child’s reading level, their best first step is to contact their teacher. We know your child’s reading ability through our daily work. We are more than willing to help parents find the right book for their child.”

Both school library media specialists and personnel at the James Prendergast Library are also incredibly knowledgeable about how to choose books at the correct reading level. For an at-home determination of your child’s reading level, try these methods from

The Five Finger Rule

Have your child read the first two pages of a book. Anytime your child encounters a word that he or she doesn’t know, put one finger up. If your child get to five fingers before the end of the first page, the book may be too hard to read alone.

The Page 2 Check:

Have your child read the first two pages. At the end of the second page, stop your child stop and ask him or her what has happened in the story so far. Does it make sense to your child? If it doesn’t, then the book may be too hard.

The Page 5 Check:

Have your child read the first five pages. Ask your child, “is this book making me think?” If not, the book may be too easy for your child and a more challenging book is needed.

posted on 09/06/2013 - filed under: Academics, Community, Elementary School, JHS, Middle School, Parents, Spotlight