What book should my child read?
My kid hates reading, what should I do?
Finding the right book can be a difficult task. This is especially true if you have a reluctant reader. Here are a few teacher tips for young readers.
If your child does not enjoy reading a particular book, it is important to know why. The first question might need to be:
Does the book match my child’s reading ability?
One favorite book check for children to do is the Five Finger Check. Children can do this check on their own once they get the hang of it. I really enjoy this one because it does not require knowing your child’s current Lexile level or anything. It just takes a moment and really does help children understand how pleasurable a book will probably be for them based on their reading level. The Five Finger Test is a way to help children see if they can happily read a book independently.
The Five Finger Test
1. Flip to the middle of the book.
2. Put of five fingers.
3. Read aloud.
4. Put a finger down when there is an unknown word or a word that was difficult to sound out.
5. See how many fingers are still up at the end of the page.
0 – 1 fingers down = too easy
2 – 3 fingers down = challenging
4 – 5 fingers down = too hard
Here’s a link to a Teachers Pay Teachers poster by Always Miss Summer.
Another reason your child may not enjoy reading is that she hasn’t found the right book. I really like what James Patterson’s about page (https://kids.jamespatterson.com/landing-page/about-james/) says, “Patterson’s writing career is characterized by a single mission: to prove that there is no such thing as a person who ‘doesn’t like to read,’ only people who haven’t found the right book.”
Finding a book on your child’s reading level is vital, but it isn’t the only ingredient in the mixing bowl.
Another key ingredient is choosing a topic that matters to your child! I may love historical fiction, but that could put someone else to sleep. To know what your child would like to read, you’ll need to really know your child. The awesome part is, you’re the parent! You know your child better than anyone else does!
Here are some questions if you’d like to start helping your child figure out what they would be interested in reading. You might already know the answers (or what they would have been last week), but conversations are worth the time.
What are three things you enjoy doing most?
What are three of your favorite movies or shows?
If you could go to any three places at any point in history (past, present, or future) where would you go? Why?
These questions should help you and your child both see what she’s interested in. That will give you a ballpark of what books might be of interest to her.
Over the years I’ve learned that asking “What’s your favorite _” can be a difficult question to answer. When people have asked me “What was your favorite part of the trip?” I’ve been stumped. How could I narrow all those experiences down to one thing? Then instead of opening up and having a conversation, I’ve felt like I couldn’t possibly answer. This is why I try to ask about a favorite three. You can pick a number or question that works for you and your family.
The two main categories of books are non-fiction and fiction. As you know, fiction means the story is make-believe and non-fiction indicates that the reading is factual. There are many types of books out there.
There are many genres in both movies and reading. If you would like information about these, here is a free resource through The Curriculum Corner: Genre Posters (https://www.thecurriculumcorner.com/thecurriculumcorner123/genre-posters/).
There are many purposes to reading both inside and outside the classroom. As teachers we understand that children from kindergarten through third grade are learning to read. In fourth grade and up, students are reading to learn. Expecting a kindergartener to read a textbook chapter full of information about plants and then explain what she learned would be unfair. The content in the chapter could be shown, explained, and possibly read to her but the average kindergarten child is not reading chapters of information in order to learn.
Reading to Children
You are raising a beautifully unique family. Decide what books fit your family’s needs. Earlier this year I shared a post about literacy beginning in the home. Families set the stage for reading. Even after your child begins reading independently, you can continue reading as a family. Time together is the most valuable.
You are your child’s first and most important teacher!
Questions to Ponder
What books do you recommend for children? Why?
How do you help your child find the right book?
Resources to Enjoy
Looking for a way to help your children talk about what they read? I made free reading retelling chart I made for you and your family to enjoy! You can read about using the chart and how to make your own here.
Interested in helping your children connect to the books they read? Here's a post I made about that. You can find the "When I Read I Make Connections" posters I created under Learning: Tools and Ideas.
Here’s a helpful checklist for helping your young child find interest in and success in reading. https://lincs.ed.gov/publications/pdf/Literacy_Home.pdf