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Tip of the Day- Help Your Child Choose the Right Book!

Parents often ask me how they can help boost their child’s reading and comprehension skills.  There are tons of ways to help kids become better readers…reading aloud to them (at all ages) is one of the best.  However, as kids get older, it is essential that they learn to choose reading material on their own.  Here is a quick tip to help kids choose books that are right for them.

  • Parents- you need to know your child’s ZPD- zone of proximal development.  This is just a fancy way of explaining a child’s general reading/comprehension level.  If your child’s school uses the Accelerated Reader program of something similar, it is likely your child has completed some type of assessment to learn his ZPD.  This tool gives a reading range for each child.  For example, your child may be 9 and in 3rd grade.  Her ZPD might be 2.6-5.0.  This means that her reading range is from half way through 2nd grade through fifth grade.  Essentially, your child will enjoy and learn from books in this range.  Lower level books will bore him, while books higher than a 5th grade reading level will most likely prove too difficult.  If you do not know your child’s ZPD, speak with his teacher.  There are a ton of informal assessment tools that can be used to help find your child’s reading range.
  • You won’t always be with your child when she’s choosing new reading material at the library or while in class.  This quick checklist is helpful for  children who are reading on their own (generally 3 grade and up).  Children in grades K-2 spend more time “learning to read” than “reading to learn.” Many can decode well and read the words, but they have not yet developed a good grasp or understanding of the content of what they are reading.  Keep these tips for readers who are working on comprehension skills.
  • Choose a book of interest.
  • Read 1-2 pages of the book.
  • Count on your fingers how many words you do not understand.
  • If you count 5 or more words within the first 2 pages that you do not understand, choose another book.  This book is essentially out of your reading range (ZPD).
  • If you count 1-3 words you don’t understand, this book is within your reading range.

I hope you find this quick tip helpful.  I would love to know what works for you at home or in your classroom.  Happy reading!!!

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