If you’re trying to raise a reader, follow these simple steps to help kids choose books that are just right for them. As a teacher, I’ve seen children choose texts far beyond their level, time and time again. While topics are an important part of choosing a book, it isn’t the only criteria a child should look for. This can be discouraging and turn children off reading. Books for kids should be well-suited to them and for that we need to teach kids a strategy. Try these tips by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, creators of The Daily Cafe program to help your kids choose books that’ll get them reading a good-fit book.
The Sisters, as The Daily Cafe creators are known, have introduced the acronym ‘I-PICK’ to help explain this strategy.
I – I look at a book – Kids should be encouraged to explore the book selection and choose something that appeals to them. This will take some practice, believe it or not. In classrooms we call this ‘book shopping’ and kids absolutely love it. Letting little ones have a little control over what they read teaches them independence and how important their choices can be.
P – Purpose – Remind your children that when choosing a book they need to think about the purpose of why they want to read. Do they want to be entertained? Do they want to learn about a particular subject? Letting them think about the reason they are reading will help them make a good decision when it comes time for choosing.
I – Interest – It’s important to choose books with subjects that the reader is interested in. Kids can be quick to grab the first thing they see. If they take the time to choose something they’ll really enjoy they will inevitable spend more time reading. This can help develop a life long love of reading.
C – Comprehend – Choosing a book on dinosaurs is great but choosing a book that is far beyond their understanding will have them frustrated and quick to give up. I’ve watched countless children choose text book style texts because their is a dinosaur on the cover. While the pictures are entertaining the kids have questions and when they cannot decipher the text they are quick to give up. Understanding the text is, obviously, a very crucial part of reading.
K – Know the Words – Ask the child to browse through a few pages to make sure they know and can read most of the words. If the vocabulary is too hard then the book won’t keep the child’s interest for long. Flipping through a page of two can usually remedy this common mistake. Book publishers are getting much better at creating books of interest for all kids at all reading levels so even our struggling readers can find something appropriate.
Boushey and Moser have had some great success with their reading strategies surrounding good-fit books for kids and they are simple enough to implement in your home. When home and school are on the same page kids can see some great success.