Don’t all of us parents want our children to develop healthy habits? For instance, we want them to make healthy food choices. We want them to get enough exercise and practice good hygiene. And we want them to do well in school and succeed in things they do. Unfortunately, reading is a healthy habit that is often overlooked. Some children dislike reading because they struggle to find a book that interests them. These five guidelines can help you learn how to help children find books they will love.
How to Help Children Find Books They Will Love
P.I.C.K stands for Purpose, Interest, Comprehension, and Know the words. Teachers and librarians use this mnemonic as they assist children on their book search. Children who have memorized P.I.C.K can usually find a book by themselves if given enough time and freedom to browse.
2. Five Finger Test
The Five Finger Test is a great way to assess comprehension by reading only one page of a book. Have the child open a book to any full page of words. Have them read the page, preferably out loud so you can hear too. As they read ask them to hold up a finger each time they reach a word that they do not know the meaning of and/or that they cannot pronounce.
- If at the end of the page, they are not holding up any fingers the book could possibly be too easy for them but if that’s the one they want it’s okay to let them try it.
- If only one or two fingers are held up then the book is appropriate based on comprehension.
- Three fingers mean that the book could be a little difficult but probably doable, especially if the child is excited about it.
- Four fingers mean it’s probably too hard and five fingers mean it’s time to choose another book or read with an adult.
3. Know the Child
Just like when your friend says “I read this great book, I really think you’ll love it too!” (and they are right) you, as the parent and chief knower of your child, will have an advantage when it comes to finding books your children will like. Consider what kind of imaginative play your child engages in and consider looking for books in that genre. Also, think about what books you loved as a child. However, it is important to remember that just because you loved a book when you were young doesn’t mean your offspring will love it too. Don’t get your feelings hurt!
4. Ask Your Librarian
Librarians get paid to know about books. Specifically, Children’s Librarians get paid to help suggest books for children. It’s their job to know about a lot of different subjects and genres so why not take advantage of them as a resource? If your child’s school has a small library or if your child feels like there is not enough time during library time at school, your local public library can be a huge help. After chatting with your librarian to get a few good ideas, make space and time for your child to browse through as many books as it takes for him to say, “this is the one.”
5. Choose Books Based on Upcoming Movies
Do you know of any movies coming out soon that were books first? Challenge your child to read the book before they see the movie counterpart. Or have them read the book that goes with a movie they already love; think titles like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Giver, The Hunger Games and Judy Moody. Even Home (you know, the one with the aliens and the little girl looking for her mom, and the cat named pig) was a book before it was a movie.
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