How To Pick A Book At The Right Reading Level


We are big book lovers in this house and Ebi-kun has loved books from the start, he was also an early reader and will pick up anything and try and read it, big words don’t phase him, in the slightest! I know we dropped lucky with this kid! Or the apple didn’t fall far from the tree as I was an early reader too.


Some children struggle with reading and get easily put off if the book is too challenging. So, how do you pick a book that at the right reading level?


childrens books with cup on top


Taking that your child is with you, in the library or bookstore or even using the ‘See inside’ option when buying online, ask your child to pick a page at random in the book. Now read through that one page, every time they come to a word they don’t know, hold up a finger for that word. When you get to the bottom of the page, how many fingers are they holding up?


  • If it is zero, then the book is easy – they should look for something a little harder

  • If it is 1-5 fingers then the book is just right!

  • If they counted more than 5 then the book will be a challenge, maybe put it on the reading list for a couple of months time!


How To Pick A Book At The Right Reading Level For Your Child 1


It is OK for kids to still read easy books

Yes!  sometimes they fall in love with the story or illustrations, sometimes they need mental rest and reading something easy is soothing. Like when we choose to read chick-lit rather than Chaucer!

Harder books, on the other hand, could put your child back with their reading, if they are struggling with the vocabulary it often means they will struggle with the concepts or storyline too, it doesn’t mean that they can’t read the book, but it is recommended to hold it back for a while.

It is a fine line between finding a book which is just challenging enough and one that is too difficult, if your child is struggling with a book, then put it back on the shelf for a while and pick something a little easier.

It is OK for a child to read the same book more than once, in fact, it’s probably a good thing, it will lead to a better understanding, especially when they are emergent readers. The first time through they will be concentrating on forming the words and sentences rather than understanding what is written.

This is why choosing books that have an activity book to go with it can be a good thing, it helps the kids think about the content and encourages them to go back and re-read. As long as the child is having fun with it, take the fun out and your child will start to resist when it comes to reading and it will be an upward battle after that.

What about silly books like Captain Underpants?

I personally feel that it is better to have a child reading silly stuff than nothing at all. So if it takes a man in silly underpants to get a child onboard with reading, then I am all for it. You can help refine their topics once they are hooked 😉

If this post was useful you might find How To Help My Kid Learn To Read useful too, I share the books we used and recommend when my son started reading.

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