by Phillip Chipping
Finding the Perfect Book
Children love to read books that are perfect for them. What does that mean? There are two components of a “perfect” book.
1. Reading Level
First, the book has to be right for your child’s reading level. Many books offer a “reading level” as a guide. The guides provided by publishers are a great beginning point, but there is another step to ensure the book will work. The best way is to have the child pick up the book in question, read the front and back flaps, as well as the first page in the book. If there are more than five or six words on a page that your child didn’t understand or struggles with, then the book is a bit too advanced.
A book that is too hard will discourage a child very quickly. Remember, the most important quality in helping your child become an accomplished and successful reader it to make sure that they ENJOY their reading experience. Children (and all people) want to do things they enjoy. When a child enjoys reading, he will be much more likely to keep doing it. So make sure the books aren’t too hard.
2. Interest Level
This is where things can get a lot harder for parents. Kids want to read things they are interested in, plain and simple. Some parents don’t have a challenge here because their children love to read and can’t wait to get their hands on the next fantasy book. My daughter is the perfect example. My son, however, is another story entirely. He has struggled with reading for years and so this piece of the puzzle becomes absolutely critical. The only way we can get him to read on his own (and enjoy that reading) is by helping him find books that he is interested in. Lego books fit the bill. Transformers. And especially Pokemon! Other kids might like books about science more, or animals – non-fiction materials that help them discover the world around them. So take the time to pay attention to what your child likes and help her choose books that fit.
When either one of these elements is missing, you are fighting an uphill battle. A book that’s “on-interest” but is too hard for your child will discourage and frustrate him. A book that is “on-level” but is on a topic your child is not interested will make him bored.
But when you get both elements – a book that is “on-interest” and “on-level”, you will be providing the perfect reading environment. Reading will be easy and fun, and your child’s reading abilities will grow and progress exponentially faster.