Picking a “Just Right” Book

Summer Reading Program is here and soon students will be reading books, winning prizes, and reaching academic goals. Summer Reading is important for so many reasons, especially for struggling or disadvantaged readers. The New York State Library’s department of Library Development has an extensive page on the importance of Summer Reading and why you should care.

Some of the benefits that they share are:

  • Fighting the “summer slide” or the loss of reading levels that students may experience over the summer
  • Continuing to enjoy positive reading experiences
  • Enforcing best reading practices learned over the school year

Now that you’re convinced, we want to take a moment to stress the importance of finding your student’s “just right” book. Remember that old tale of the three bears and little miss Goldilocks? Every time she helped herself to something like their furniture, food, bedding, she always stopped when it was “juuuuust right.” Reading works exactly the same. The only way that your student will benefit from summer reading is to read “just right” books.

“How do I do that?” you ask?

We have a few links to resources that will help you out!

  1. Lexile Score – Grand Rapids Public Schools pushes “Lexiling” in all of their schools. A Lexile score is essentially a number that is loosely connected to a grade level and by having your student read the right Lexile score they will benefit from reading a “just right” book.
  2. Five Finger Rule – Much less technical, this website explains the Five Finger Rule simply. You have your student open the book they want to read up to the second page, and have them read it out loud. For every word they do not know or struggle with you have them put up a finger. If they only have one finger up by the end of the page, or they have all five of their fingers up, time to look for another book.
  3. Accelerated Reader – If you are more familiar with the Accelerated Reader program than the Lexile score, here is a link to a website where you can look up books by AR level or look up a book title to find out the point value/AR level.
  4. Correlation Tool – Here is a chart that shows the correlation between various reading measurements (Lexile, Fountas and Pinnell, Reading Recovery, DRA, and grade level). When your child says, “Mr. Rodriguez said I am reading at a Q” or “Mrs. McNeal said I finished the year reading at around a 900”, this chart could potentially help you figure out their level in relation to their grade, as well as other measurements. After using this chart you can go to the Lexile website mentioned in number one.

Now that you have a few tools available, we hope that this Summer Reading Program is exciting, challenging, and most of all fun!

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