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4 Steps to Choosing Books at Your Child’s Reading Level

By Louise Baigelman, MEd

Choosing books at the right reading level can help your child get better at reading—and learn to enjoy reading. Books that are too challenging can discourage kids. Books that are too easy don’t give enough opportunity for practice and growth.

Follow these steps to find books at the right level for your child.

1. Find out your child’s measured reading level.

Ask the school for your child’s reading level. If that information isn’t available, you can get a rough idea at home by using the San Diego Quick Assessment of Reading Ability. (Download a PDF of the assessment.)

2. Look for books that match that level.

Many kids’ books list their reading level on the back or spine. Programs like Scholastic’s Book Wizard can help you search for books at your child’s reading level.

3. Do a five-fingers vocabulary check.

Ask your child to hold up five fingers and read one page of a book. Each time your child doesn’t know a word, put one finger down. If all five fingers end up down, the book is too hard.

4. Do a quick comprehension check.

Ask your child to pause after reading a few pages and tell you about what was just read. Make sure your child really understands the book.

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