Our learning experts explain how to choose the best books for emerging readers.
Let's start by saying that the best book for your child is the book that gets read. Words trapped between two covers have no power to enlighten, entertain, inform or delight. But, oh, the power these words can wield once a child spends time with them! Studies show that, on average, children who read more than twenty minutes per day scored above the 90th percentile on standardized reading tests, while children who read fewer than ten minutes per day scored below the 75th percentile.
The first priority is choosing a book that feeds your child’s interests and passions. Lists of award-winners or popular picks can be a good starting place, but keep in mind that the book needs to be read and enjoyed by your child. Use these guidelines to help you match your child with books that will get read.
At this age, some children may begin reading on their own. When choosing books for independent reading, focus on books with:
The ultimate goal is to help your child learn to pick out books for herself. Although very easy readers can build a child’s confidence, they will not promote reading growth, and books that are too hard can lead to frustration. To find books that are just right, your child can use the "Five Finger" test: Read one page of the book; if there are more than five unknown words, choose a different book. In general, a book is just right for your child if she likes it, she can read it and she understands it well enough to talk about it.