Choosing Good Books
At all ages, it is important that each child read 3 different ways (easy books, hard books, and "just right" books) throughout each day as many days as possible. One method for choosing independent books to read is to use the Goldilocks Method:
Choose "easy" books to read sometimes.
These are books where your child can read almost every word without help. If the book is a year or two below your child's grade level, he/she will build confidence, smooth reading and expressive reading. Your child can read these books independently or aloud practicing expressive reading and even different voices.
Choose "hard" books to read sometimes.
As a general rule, if your child reads the first page of a book and misses 5 or more words, that book is difficult for the child to read. Reading these books aloud to your child will help build vocabulary, a sense of story and excitement for what's possible. Plus, it's just plain enjoyable to listen to someone read and then to talk about books. You are never too old for that!
Choose "just right" books sometimes.
If your child can read 9 out of 10 words on a page, that's a "just right" book. By missing one word every so often, your child gets a chance to try the strategies that s/he is learning in school. Every child needs practice using the strategies. If s/he is missing more words per page, it will be difficult to get any meaning from independent reading. When your child comes across an unfamiliar word, it's a good idea to have him run through a variety of strategies to try and figure it out by himself. However, your child should not get to the point of frustration. Reading should be fun!
Click on the links below to learn additional information on Choosing Good Books for your children!
Good book lists from the American Library Association
Videos about choosing good books for your child:
Helping your child choose books video: Don't assume that your child knows how to choose their own books! You can help by observing your child's interests and asking questions that will guide them in the right direction. And don't forget to ask your public librarian, too.
Choosing Good Books
Reading Levels 2