Children get excited about reading chapter books because it marks their coming of age as a reader. We want to nurture their excitement about reading but make sure they are reading a book that is appropriate for them. We share some helpful tips below!
Book Selection: Here are some strategies for you to model as your children begin to select books that are “just right”:
- Look at the cover
- Read the title
- Scan the text (is font size large, is there ample white space)
- Look at the back summary
- Do the 5 finger test (see below) to see if it is a just-right reading level 5 Finger Test
- Decide if it is a book they want to read
Since this book selection strategy is not intuitive, please practice it with them multiple times.
Books that are too Hard: If your children are drawn to a book that is too difficult, suggest partner reading and have your child read the sections they can read while you read the trickier parts. Alternatively, they might want to wait until it becomes easier. Independently reading a book that is too difficult does not facilitate good reading habits or the joy of reading. It can cause them to feel discouraged.
Remembering the Story: The reason a chapter book might be more difficult is because it lasts longer than one reading session. Help your children remember the characters and plot by asking them to share what happened in the chapters just read. Then prior to restarting the book show your children how to look back at what was previously read, including illustrations to refresh their memories.
An Engaging Series: If you can find a book series that your children like, it will be easier to pick out the next book. In addition, the characters become more familiar so the reading will be less challenging and more fun.
Using the Public Library: When visiting the public library with your child, be sure to ask the librarian if they have a specific location for transitional or beginning chapter books. When your child finds a chapter book that interests them, be sure to ask your child to use the 5 finger rule to be sure to identify books that are in your child’s reading range.
In Addition to Transitional Books
- Even though your child is becoming more fluent in their reading, please don’t stop reading aloud to your child. They still need that bonding experience and this is also a great way to introduce a more complicated/challenging book that your child might not be able to read on their own but allows you to work through the text together.
- Also, picture books are still an important part of your child’s reading experience. They still offer your child the chance to use their visual literacy skills to decode the words and use the pictures to help them decipher the plot.
- With summer approaching, please consider enrolling your child in the public library’s summer reading program. This is a great way to keep their enthusiasm for reading going during the summer months.
Books to consider:
Scholastic Acorn levels https://kids.scholastic.com/kids/books/acorn/acorn-levels/
Please remember to reach out to Dr. Polly Breen, SFX Reading Specialist or Linda Sawyer, SFX School Librarian, as well as your child’s first grade teacher for any questions or further book recommendations!