THE FIVE FINGER RULE: A SIMPLE METHOD FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT BOOK FOR YOUR CHILD’S INDEPENDENT READING ABILITY [this method is most appropriate for end of 1st grade up]
The easiest way to determine if a book is at an appropriate independent reading level for your child is to use the “five finger” rule.
*Have your child begin reading out loud. If they are a younger child, you want them to read no less than five-ten sentences and no more than a page if it is an older student.
*Raise one finger each time he/she struggles with a word for longer than 2-3 seconds.
*If they reach the end of the prescribed reading range before raising all five fingers, the book is written at a comfortable level for independent reading.
*If it is determined the book is not at an independent reading level for the child, DO NOT DENY THEM. Make it a read aloud book that someone reads with them instead!
TIPS FOR CHOOSING A GOOD BOOK!
*SIMPLY PUT, a good book is one a child enjoys reading.
*Keep your child’s interests and reading level in mind.
*Encourage them to select books on their own as soon as they show preferences.
*Let them pick two kinds of books if they consistently choose books that are not at their independent reading level---one to read with you and one to read on their own.
*Talk with your child, their input will help you guide them to good books.
*Let them look through a book and decide if this is a book they want to read in its entirety. If they don’t like a book after reading a chapter or a few pages, pick another one. READING IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN, NOT A CHORE.
Reading is Fundamental—www.rif.org
American Library Association—www.ala.org
The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, 5th edition, 2001