Mini-Course #3 How to Choose a Book

kid readingHelp Your Child Choose the Right Book

As a Reading Specialist in an elementary school for almost 20 years, I attended many, many Book Fairs and I can tell you this: most kids do not know how to pick out an appropriate book. That, of course, results in not reading, fake reading, or avoiding reading. So let’s find a better way.


Kids Want to Fit In

Book Fairs exist to promote reading and also to make money for the parent association. Those wonderful organizations raise huge amounts of money for schools used for all sorts of terrific programs and equipment for our children. It’s hard for kids to choose between all the beautiful covers and popular titles on display – especially if they struggle with reading. They want to take home the same books as their friends. With those purchases, you can only read with your child or get the audio version so your child can talk about the stories with their friends and fit in with the “reading” students.

Practice at Home with the Right Books

However, when kids are in the privacy of their own homes, you can help them practice reading by using books at their own level. Here’s how to help find the right books:


The 5 Finger Rule

Here is your 5 minute homework:

Use The 5 Finger Rule:


  • Ask your children to randomly choose a page from the book they are reading.
  • Next they read it out loud to you.
  • They hold up 1 finger every time they can’t read a word or don’t know a word.
  • If they have 5 fingers up at the end of reading one page, then you know the book is too hard. To be sure, try it with 3 random pages.

Congrats! You earned an A+ for helping your child choose an appropriate book.

The next step is to start there for practice. Then gradually keep increasing the book level.  For struggling readers this might take time.  But practice with the right level of books is the secret weapon to getting better at reading.

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“Happy Reading!”