Helping Your Child to Choose a “Just Right” Book

Often times parents have difficulty determining if a book is at the right reading level for their child.  When in doubt, I recommend using the Five Finger Rule.

The Five Finger Rule

  • Have your child choose a book he wants to read.
  • Ask your child to open to a page in the middle of the book and begin to read.  He should hold up a fist.
  • Each time he comes to a word that he doesn’t know or is difficult for him to pronounce, ask him to put up a finger.
  • If he gets to the end of the page and he has five fingers up, the book is “too hard.”
  • If he has no fingers up, the book is “too easy.”
  • If he has 1-2 fingers up, the book is “just right.”

You want the book to have a few challenging words, but not so many that your child becomes frustrated with reading and fails to comprehend what has been read.  Eventually, your child should be able to use this tool to help him choose books independently.  So the next time you are in the library or the book store and your child picks up a book to read, ask him to use the Five Finger Rule to determine if it’s at the right reading level for your child.

©2010 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

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4 Responses to “Helping Your Child to Choose a “Just Right” Book”

  1. Denise Says:

    What a simple and easy-to-remember idea for choosing a book for independent reading. Thanks!

  2. Beth Zemble Says:

    That’s a great tip to determine whether the vocabulary and syntax is too difficult for a child or will challenge him or her just enough. I’ll have to use that. I find that parents also need to be wary of choosing a book that their children can read (because they can decode), but cannot really comprehend because the themes, ideas, or narrative structure are too mature for the child. Parents might also ask their children “what was that about?” or “Tell me what happened on that page.” as a follow up to determine whether children can understand what they read.

  3. Lori Beverage Says:

    Excellent “rule of fingers” for this. This is often a question from parents about knowing whether a book will be ok. Perfect timing for summer reading! Well done!

  4. Helping your child find a “Just Right” book « Connect-2-Literacy's Blog Says:

    […] https://literacytoolbox.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/helping-your-child-to-choose-a-just-right-book/ ▶ No Responses /* 0) { jQuery('#comments').show('', change_location()); jQuery('#showcomments a .closed').css('display', 'none'); jQuery('#showcomments a .open').css('display', 'inline'); return true; } else { jQuery('#comments').hide(''); jQuery('#showcomments a .closed').css('display', 'inline'); jQuery('#showcomments a .open').css('display', 'none'); return false; } } jQuery('#showcomments a').click(function(){ if(jQuery('#comments').css('display') == 'none') { self.location.href = '#comments'; check_location(); } else { check_location('hide'); } }); function change_location() { self.location.href = '#comments'; } }); /* ]]> */ Click here to cancel reply. […]

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