Now schools are back in full swing, we are seeing more children coming back into the library after school and at weekends to choose some new books – which is GREAT!
It’s wonderful to see how they’ve all progressed so far in lockdown and now they are wanting to move on to more challenging reads. We’ve been asked this question several times by parents and children over the last couple of weeks – “Is this book suitable for my child to read?”
Books that are too easy can make reading time boring, while those that are too difficult can cause your child to become frustrated, skip parts, and fail to understand what’s happening. So it’s important to strike the right level.
I thought this little test might help you all in assessing whether a book is the right level for your child to move on to. It’s called the Five Finger Test.
The Five Finger test is a quick and simple way for you and your child to check whether a book is suitable for them to read on their own.
First let your child choose a book that they would like to read. Open the book at a random page (one with not too many pictures on it) and let your child begin to read.
As they read, for every word they DON’T know they should hold up a finger.
At the end of the page see how many fingers your child has held up. You can use these guidelines to assess the book.
0 or 1 – The book is most probably too easy for your child as they know all the words.
2 – A good choice that will give your child a reasonable challenge and allow them to learn new words.
3 – Your child might need some help, but still a good choice if they’re up for a challenge.
4 – May be too difficult for your child to read on their own. If you are on hand to give them help or read along with them it can be suitable, but if they are reading on their own, choose a different book.
5 – Most probably a bit too advanced, try a different book.
The five finger test is only a guideline for helping your child to find books that are right for them. It’s worthwhile remembering that if they have their heart set on a book that seems too hard, it’s probably OK to let them have a go. As long as you’re around to help them if they get stuck on a tricky
word or part of the story with they will keep going! However, if you know they’ll struggle to enjoy the story, or follow the words, put it on a list for later in the year and suggest a different book instead.
Allowing your child to read the books they’re interested in (whether they’re too easy or too difficult) is an important part of nurturing and maintaining their love of books and reading and that’s something we all want to do!
I hope you find this little test useful and look forward to seeing what you choose to read next. Claire