I have a five year old who will start kindergarten and a six year old who will start second grade next fall. Both of them love to read. I was very lucky to know a wonderful children's librarian (and pretty terrific person) for a couple of years before she moved on to greener pastures (miss you Melanie). She told me about the Five Finger Rule for helping a child to choose a book appropriate for their individual reading level. This has been one of the most helpful things I have learned in helping my girl's to succeed in reading.
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I don't know where this rule started, but here is the basic idea. (You can search for this and find a ton of variations.)
- Select a book
- Open it book in the middle and find a page that isn’t the first page or the first page of a chapter. It is helpful if the page also does not have pictures.
- Read the page.
- For every word that you have trouble reading put a finger up.
2-3 fingers – the book is “just right”
4-5 fingers – the books is too hard
I have adapted this as my oldest daughter started reading better. I encourage her to read books that are in a higher finger range now. She picks up new words very quickly and can often figure out what they are by sounding them out and their use in the context of the sentence. She is currently reading above her grade level and I have more difficulty determining if a book is appropriate for her age than if it is too easy for her.
Edited to add: Please scroll down so you can read comments. Jenny Melrose left a comment that expands a bit more and is worth looking at.
I also want to announce that Monday will be the day I try to put up book reviews. Most of the books will be for children, but I will try to throw a few in for Mom, too.
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