This One Simple Trick Will Help You Choose Books That Are the Right Level of Difficulty for Your Kids

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the book store or library with my daughter, excited to encourage her love of reading and help her find a book to devour, only to get there and have a hard time finding the right book.

She’s a strong reader and loves lots of different topics, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been well-versed in kids’ books and it’s hard to know what type of book is right for her age and reading level.

She’ll scan the racks, stare at covers, flip through them… and often chooses a book that ends up being too tough for her to read. The result? She gives up and doesn’t want to try that book (or series of books) again for a long time.

Since I’m an avid reader and know how incredible it is to love to read as a kid, I want to do whatever I can to help encourage it in my daughter, especially now that she’s starting to want to read more challenging books on her own. I’m thrilled about the idea of her discovering new adventures and worlds and experiences within books. And I don’t want anything to discourage her when she’s just starting out.

So, when I learned about this one simple trick to help you and your child find books that are the right level of difficulty, I was pretty excited. It was Dr. Steve Truch who brought it to my attention after I spoke with him earlier this year about summer reading. Here’s what he suggested you do:

Head to your local library or book store and pick out a book that your child is showing an interest in.

Turn to any random page in that book and have your child read the first paragraph you come across.

If your child makes 5 or more errors, the book is too difficult for them to read on their own.

Try this method until you find a book that interests them (they have to love the topic/story, etc.) and one that they can get through with fewer than 5 errors. If they absolutely love a book but make too many errors, you can always suggest reading it to them (if they aren’t too fiercely independent like my daughter is).

Once they can read on their own, they’ll be on their way to a whole new level of independence.

Happy reading!


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