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 the right reading level for your child can be a challenge. Parents often seek a "just right" book: not too hard, but not too easy. When looking for books for your child to read on his own, try the 5-finger test:

  • Open the book to the middle. Choose a full page of words. Read the page out loud, and hold up a finger each time you come to a word you don't know.
  • One finger (thumb): Thumbs up! Great book choice, this will be easy reading for you.
  • Two fingers (thumb and index finger): Makes an L, still Looking good! Enjoy.
  • Three fingers (makes a W): Warning! This book may be best when read with someone.
  • Four or more fingers (whole hand): Stop! This book may be too tough to enjoy alone. Ask an adult or older sibling to read this book to you.

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

Reading Rockets (2012)


You are welcome to print copies or republish materials for non-commercial use as long as credit is given to Reading Rockets and the author(s). For commercial use, please contact [email protected]


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"Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them! How I need them! I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them." —

Arnold Lobel