Monthly tips for parents

Finding the Right Book for Your Child

Finding the Right Book for Your Child

Finding the right book for your child means finding something your child wants to read AND making sure it's at the right level for your child.

“I can’t find anything to read!”

Libraries and bookstores are full of good books, yet sometimes it’s hard for a child to find something to read. Genre and authors can help.

Genre: Think of genre as categories or types of books. Identifying what type, or genre, of book your reader enjoys can lead to you certain shelves or areas. For example, does your reader like action and adventure? Fantasy? Graphic novels? Mystery? Start your book searches by looking for new books within a favorite genre.

Author: Stumbling on a new author can be a treasure trove of new titles! Find a book your child particularly enjoys and see if that author has written other books. It's also fun to search online to see if that author has a website. Many authors do, and some include games, facts, and other interesting information to keep a reader engaged.

“This book is too hard! This book is too easy!”

Making sure a book is at a good reading level for your child can be a challenge. Parents often seek a “just right” book: not too hard, but not too easy. Try to introduce your child to books that stretch their reading skills — that will help them grow as readers. You can offer support by helping your child sound out tricky words and talking about words they may not know yet. Ask questions about the story or text to help your child build their reading comprehension muscles.

Choosing a book that’s right for your child

Encourage your child to read two or three pages of the book and then ask themselves these questions:

Is the topic interesting?

Some kids have favorite genres — they love mysteries or detective stories or books about sports or ancient Egypt, for example. It’s okay if your child gravitates to those favorites. You can also suggest other genres and topics to help expand your child’s reading diet.

Will it be an easy book to read?

  • Do I know most of the words?
  • When I read the pages aloud, does it sound smooth?
  • Do I understand what I am reading?

If your child answers “yes” to more than one, this will be an easy book for your child to read independently.

Will this book be too hard?

  • Are there many words on a page that I don’t know?
  • When I read it aloud, does it sound choppy and slow?
  • Is this book hard to understand by myself?

If your child answers “yes” to more than one, this book could be challenging to read independently. It can still be a great choice — you or an older sibling in your family can read it together with your growing reader.

Finding the right book may involve a little bit of extra work, but it’s worth it in the end.

Reading Rockets (2012)

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"I used to walk to school with my nose buried in a book." — Coolio