This article was published by Kids Read Now (www.kidsreadnow.org). I think it is an excellent summarization about the how and why. The five-finger rule has been used successfully for years by teachers. I hope you find the article helpful!
Finding your children’s perfect reading range may seem like a daunting task at first. On one hand you want to challenge them but on the other, you don’t want them to get discouraged. So how do you find that fine line where reading is both fun and beneficial? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!
What Books Do Children Choose?
It’s not uncommon to assume most children read at grade level; however, here at Kids Read Now we have found that many students select books from outside their grade level. According to our 2020 book selection, 53.5% of all books selected were of reading levels outside a student’s grade level. Just because a student is in a specific grade doesn’t mean that he or she will enjoy or benefit from reading books specifically for that grade!
The Five Finger Rule
An easy way to judge if a book is in your child’s “just right” range at home is the Five Finger Rule. Let your child pick any book and open the book to any page. Put up one finger for each word your child is unsure of or doesn’t know.
0 – 1 fingers: Too Easy
2 – 3 fingers: Just Right
4 – 5 fingers: Too Hard
If books are “Too Easy”, children may get easily distracted or bored. If books are “Too Hard”, children may feel discouraged and frustrated. Try to find books in their “Just Right” range and encourage them to read and ask questions about words they may not know. Also, consider reading “Too Hard” books together so you can discuss difficult words or passages.
Finding the Right Books with the Right Program
Kids Read Now has a wide variety of books that students can choose based on their “just right” reading range and individual interests. Each year our Wish List includes multicultural, bilingual, series, fiction, nonfiction, multiethnic, and award-winning books sure to spark creativity and a love of reading in all K-3 students. Contact us if you have any questions about finding your child’s “Just Right” reading range or for more information on our proven, in-home reading program.