Encouraging reading & writing

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

By Louise Baigelman

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Choosing books at the right reading level will help your child improve her literacy skills and learn to enjoy reading. Books that are too challenging may discourage her. Books that are too easy won’t provide enough opportunity for practice and growth. Follow these simple steps to find books at the right level for her.


Find out your child’s measured reading level.

Ask your child’s school for her 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.)


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.


Do a five-fingers vocabulary check.

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


Do a quick comprehension check.

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

About the Author

Portrait of Louise Baigelman

Louise Baigelman

Louise Baigelman, M.Ed., is the executive director of Story Shares, a nonprofit literacy hub that generates and distributes high-quality stories for teen and adult beginning readers.

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