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Reading with your children, even at a young age has numerous educational and psychological benefits. In fact, this the biggest way to generate enthusiasm and cultivate a genuine love for words. How exactly, do you help your child pick out the right books? Knowing how to select the right books is important because you don’t want to pick something that’s too easy or too hard. There needs to be a balance.
More than likely, you’re accustomed to visiting your local library or bookstore and grabbing whatever may seem interesting. However, teaching your child how to pick out books for themselves is a useful skill that teaches them that we read with a purpose.
Getting the Right Book Is Easy with Support
As early as you can, instill in your children that we read for a purpose even if that purpose is for entertainment and pure enjoyment. To help determine what the purpose is you can ask them to consider the following questions:
Why are they searching for a book in the first place? (Is it simply because they want to read something or is it for a school project?)
Are you trying to learn something new?
What types of book are you looking for and why?
Typically the purpose of a reading a book can be determined rather quickly. Make sure you let them know that it is okay for if they don’t like a book.
Of course, whatever book your child picks out you’ll want them to find it interesting. Let’s be honest, nobody would want to read a book that they’re not truly interested in. With that being said it’s important not to rush the process or pressure them to select a book that you think is best.
There are literally millions of different titles available to them. Encourage them to take their time and browse through the selections. If looking at so many books at once is too intimidating you can pull some titles you think they may find interesting, separate them and have them look through what you have pulled off the shelf. This is really helpful for younger children, who can get easily overwhelmed. If your son has a thing for cars than you might want to pick books with car-related themes. Or maybe your daughter has been fascinated with princesses and fairies. Knowing what they like can help you select books they might like. Also, if you visit your local library you can ask the librarian for recommendations.
Toddlers enjoy books that are small with tons of repetition, rhymes, and plots that are predictable. On the other hand, preschoolers tend to appreciate slightly complex storylines that have a couple of paragraphs per page. If your child is school aged then books that they can read on they’re won are best suited.
How can you help them figure out if they’re interested in the book? First, looking at the front cover is a great indication of whether they may find the book interesting or not. Young children are most attracted to visuals. Be sure to have them open the book and browse through the illustrations. Some parents are against letting their children pick out graphic novels or books with a lot of illustrations. However, looking at pictures while reading is perfectly acceptable and your child can still learn a lot from such books.
Read the back of the cover where you’ll find a brief summary of what the book will be about. Skimming through the chapter titles and reading the first few pages is also helpful at getting a gist of what the book will be about. Books that are award winning are a great place to start. New York Best Sellers or reads with Illustrator’s award are new and popular. Books from familiar authors is also a great starting point because these authors have a reputation for writing quality kid-friendly books that children actually love. Or if your little one has a favorite book you can check for other titles by the same author.
Custom kid’s books are also great for small children. Parents can purchase custom kid’s book with their child inserted right into the storyline. You can have their picture edited right over their favorite characters. Simply, hearing their name mentioned throughout the book is enough to get them excited?
Is this book something that the child will be able to comprehend? Is to advanced or below they’re reading skill set? Believe it or not, children are more aware of their reading level than you think they are. Often, as parents, you may worry about your child not being able to understand the book that they’re selecting. There is nothing wrong with little him or her know that the book they are selecting will be something that they will be reading independently and you can remind them of their exact reading level.
What if your child wants to read a book that you feel is beyond they’re reading ability? This can be done by reading the book aloud together. You can ask them to follow up questions to see if they understand the storyline thus far. Take turns reading the pages to see if they are able to pronounce the words. Define big words. Don’t be afraid to let your child branch out above they’re reading level a little bit. Books that are a bit advanced will help them grow as readers.
Teach your kid to ask themselves the following questions when figuring out whether they comprehend what they read:
- Was I able to pronounce most of the words in the book?
- Can I remember what I read?
- Do I understand what I just read?
How Well Does He or She Know the Words?
You’ll know if they have chosen the right book if they are able to decode at least most of the words in the book. The five finger rule is beneficial for figuring the difficulty level of a read. Check out this outline of the five finger rule:
0-1 unknown words per page means that the book is way to easy
2-3 unknown words per page indicates the book is at the right level
4-5 unknown words per page means the book is too challenging
Yes, the five finger method is a general rule of thumb for determining if the book selected is the best fit for your child.