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How To Pick A Book For Your Child - The Five Finger Rule

Posted Aug 27 2008 8:13am

School is starting and it’s back to the books. Actually, like many parents, I’ve kept my son on a reading schedule all summer…but that doesn’t necessarily mean I know what I’m doing or what he should be doing. So, what else is new?

Since knowing how to read and loving to read is one of those little things that is like, um, key to success in school, I constantly go back and forth between pushing encouraging him to read and worrying that I’ll push too hard and end up with a kid who hates to read.

Now, this isn’t funny because I have heard way too many stories, from people I know about reluctant readers who are not your average poor readers but rather are really smart kids who read early but…hate to read…yikes.

Know any parents pulling their hair out over that?

As I ask around about what other children in the early grades are reading I'm surprised at the variety and the variety of approaches. I’m not surprised by the lack of direction most parents get as we struggle to figure out how to get our kids reading and loving to read.

One thing I’ve noticed is that we all, in our rush to raise our genius children is we tend to give them books too hard for them. That may be why we get the push back. Probably the best tool I found actually is a sign at our local library (also on this site )

Use the 5-finger rule: If your child has difficulty with 5 words on the page, it is too difficult and even with your help, reading that book will be a frustrating experience.

Wow! Did that make a difference in what we read! Back up- back way up! Some kids do like the challenge and will grab any book, too hard or not and struggle through it. But, my kid and many like him don’t do things that way. My son likes mastery not challenge, not struggle. So for us, the 5 finger rule works great! ( Since there often aren’t 5 words on a page in some of the books he reads I look for 5 words in the entire book that he doesn’t know.)

No more easy chapter books for us, we’re taking it slow. Mastering the Bob Books was first. Now, we’re slowly making our way through the Easy Readers put out by oh…a zillion companies. First level one books, then level two, then level three….And…I carefully check each book first and follow the 5 finger rule.

It’s made a world of difference; while I struggle with my own feelings (come on kid, hurry up get to the next level) he’s progressing and more importantly enjoying the process.

So I just close my ears when other parents tell me what their children read and follow my own little plan.

For more great Works for me Wednesday ideas visit Rocks in My Dryer

Related Posts on Finding Great Books For your Child to Read:

Cool Tools for Bibliophiles

Best Toys for The Holidays - Part III- Books

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