Use the Five Finger Rule
Is your child having a problem choosing a Just Right Book? Maybe you as the parent, grandparent, or teacher is having difficulty finding books that fits your reader. If you’re not sure what their reading level is, that’s okay! Let’s learn how to choose a book for your little reader by using The Five Finger Rule.
The Five Finger Rule is my favorite one because kids can quickly choose a book. I was recently introduced to Goldie Socks and the Three Liberians. It is an engaging picture book that demonstrates the strategies to kids.
Think about Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Goldilocks kept going from chair, to porridge, to the bed…. looking for the one that is just right. The same thing works for books. Some books are too hard, others are too easy, and you’re searching for the ones that are just right!
How to Use the Five Finger Rule:
It is so simple, tell your child:
First, hold up your hand. Second, start reading the book. Third, hold up a finger for every mistakes you make on the first 1-3 pages (depends on the length, but approximately 100 words).
If you make more than 5 mistakes or don’t know those words, the book is too hard.
Under 5 mistakes – you’re all set!
Are the Books Too Easy?
- Have you read it lots of times before?
- Do you understand the story (test) very well?
- Do you know and understand almost every word?
- Can you read it smoothly?
If you are answering YES, this book is probably Too Easy Book for you. You can still have fun reading it! Too easy books are great for practicing fluency (reading smoothly)…. even if the book is memorized! Too Easy books are considered reading material at the independent level.
Is this Book a Just Right Book?
- Is this book new to you?
- Do you understand what you’ve read so far?
- Are there just a few words per page you don’t know?
- When you read are some places smooth and some choppy?
- Can someone help you with this book? Who?
Are the Books too Hard?
- Are there more than a few words on a page you don’t know?
- Are you confused about what is happening in most of this book?
- When you read, does it sound pretty choppy (like a robot)?
- Is everyone else busy and unable to help you?
From “Lessons from Goldilocks: Somebody’s Been Choosing My Books But I can Make My Own Choices Now” by M. Ohlhausen and M. Jepsen. The New advocate, Vol. 5, No. 1, Winter 1992. Norwood, MA, Christopher- Gordon Publishers, Inc.
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