It’s important to make sure the books your child reads on their own match their reading level. Books that are too easy may make reading time a bit boring, while those that are too difficult may cause your child to become frustrated, skip parts of it, and fail to understand what happened.
The Five Finger Rule is a quick and easy way to see if a book is suitable for your child to read on their own. Before they start, turn to a random page in the book and ask your child to read the page. For every word that they don’t know, hold up a finger. Use the following guidelines according to how many fingers you end up with:
- 0 or 1 – Most probably too easy for your child
- 2 – A good choice that will give your child a reasonable challenge and allow them to learn new words.
- 3 – Your child might need some help, but still a good choice if they’re up for a challenge.
- 4 – May be too difficult for your child to read on their own. If you are on hand to give them help or read along with them it can be suitable, but if they are reading on their own, choose a different book.
- 5 – Most probably a bit too advanced, try a different book.
If your child had their heart set on a book that may seem too difficult for them, you can always tell them that they can read it later in the year when they have had more reading practice. Once they have progressed in their reading, they will enjoy these books so much more as they won’t have to skip parts and will be able to read confidently without your help.
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