Dec 15, 2020

Tuesday Tips

I need a book at my reading level! 

Where are the books for second graders? 

My daughter is in fourth grade but reading at a high school level. What should she read? 

Whether your child loves to read and gobbles up several books a week, or is still a little hesitant about reading, we understand that it can be difficult to pick out books. Below are some quick and easy tips for finding the "just right" books for your child.

The Five Finger Rule is one strategy to gauge whether or not a book is suitable for your child. Here’s how it works: Have your child open the book in question and read a random page. For every word they do not know, they should hold up a finger. 

If your child is holding up no fingers or just one after reading the page, the book is probably too easy. If your child is holding up two or three fingers, this is the sweet spot and the just right book for your child. The goal is for reading to be a little complex and challenging, but not impossible. Reading should be an enjoyable experience. Young readers should feel like they’re learning, growing, and yes, even having fun. 

If your child is holding up four fingers after reading the page, the book is going to be a challenge to read independently and your little one should read the book along with a grownup. If they are holding up five fingers, the book is probably too hard and they should choose another title for now.


What are some other ways to tell if a book is just right?

The book is new to your child. If your young reader has read the same book several times before, chances are they’ll be able to breeze through it again and it’ll be too easy.

Your child understands most of the story, and can retell the major events or facts of the book. It’s okay if there are some plot points your child doesn’t understand. Books should be a little challenging so your young reader has the chance to grow and learn something new, but reading should feel successful instead of frustrating, and your child should understand most of what is taking place in the story.

Your child can read most of the words and know what they mean. Refer to the Five Finger Rule for guidance.

The topic is interesting to your child. Again, reading should be fun instead of frustrating. Unless your young reader needs to meet certain requirements for school assignments, try to find books that appeal to their interests. Unsure of how to find a chapter book about bugs? Or superhero astronauts? This is where your favorite librarians come into play. Ask us questions! We love helping your little ones find their next favorite book.  


Other things to keep in mind:

Levels are for books, not for students. Lexile, Accelerated Reader, and all of the other levels used by schools are to serve as a guide or a tool for reading. Reading levels should not be used to limit books or choices. The best way to reach fluency is actually to read several books below reading level. The most important thing at the end of the day is that your child is reading.


Ask your child what they’ve read recently that they enjoyed. Or ask them what they don’t like to read. This will help determine your child's interests and what assortment of books can be offered. Try to offer a range of choices in your child’s reading level. Instead of simply being a 4.2 reading level or a level M, young readers will have a range to guide their reading. The more choices in their reading range, the more likely it is that they’ll find something they enjoy.


Graphic novels are amazing. They tend to be more engaging than beginner books because of their humor and detailed illustrations, and they typically have more text complexity than picture books. They essentially serve as bridges to chapter books and more complex reading for a variety of audiences; reluctant readers, beginning readers, and more enjoy graphic novels. If your child is gravitating towards graphic novels, let them explore.