The Goldilocks Strategy and other Tips for Finding books that are “Just Right”
As children learn to become more strategic readers, they can choose books at their own reading levels and can assume more responsibility for choosing materials for independent reading times. In addition, they are likely to read more and to enjoy reading more than those children who do not choose books at an appropriate level of difficulty. Students who are encouraged to self-select their own reading materials are more motivated and enthusiastic as readers.
Just as children need practice reading, they need time to learn how to choose the books that they can read. Selecting books is a skill and it does not come automatically for many developing readers. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Set aside plenty of TIME for book browsing. You may, in fact, devote as much time for selection as you do for reading.
- Offer your child a small basket of books from which to choose.
- Try not to give him/her too many CHOICES at once; this can be overwhelming.
- MODEL how you pick a book: look at the cover, flip through the book, note the author’s name, look at the illustrations, and read the back cover to see if you would like to read more.
- Then, think out loud and explain why you chose the book that you chose.
- Teach your child the “Five Finger Method.” Have your child open to any page in the book selected and attempt to read it, if he/she misses five or more words on a page, the book may be too challenging.
- Children may want to choose books that are too difficult. When this happens, explain that you would be happy to read it to them.
- Remember…no one is too old to enjoy a good READ ALOUD!
- Discuss how taking the time to find the appropriate books will make sitting down to read easier and more FUN.