Children love to read, and that’s a good thing! But to be honest, it can be hard to find time to read with kids who are always taking on new things. Learning to read is one of the most important skills your child will learn, but knowing what book to choose to get them started can feel like an intimidating task. This article will show you how to choose books that are right for your child’s reading level to become a great reader sooner than they thought possible. 

Understand your child’s reading level.

Image of family reading

The first step to finding books that your child can read, comprehend, and enjoy is understanding their reading level. A reading level is a way for teachers, parents, and librarians to determine how well a child can read.

There are many ways to figure out a child’s reading level, the most common method is by measuring how many words they can recognize in a certain amount of time. The more words a child recognizes, the higher the reading level they are on. If your child reads in an English or Language Arts class, their teacher may have a general idea of what reading level your child should be on. If not, you can use some basic information about your child’s age to help figure out where they may be on this scale.

Look for books with common words from your child’s vocabulary.

Having a list of common words is valuable when choosing books at your child’s reading level. Choose books that use words and phrases they already know, especially if they are learning to read independently. You can start by making a list of words your child uses consistently in everyday speech and then look for those words in the books you are considering. If you have a word-curious child, keep a running list of new words they ask about or ask to be defined. It is another excellent way to learn what interests them and what topics might excite them in a book format.

Read the book yourself or find a book review.

Reading the book yourself will help you gauge its difficulty level from a parent’s perspective. If you can’t read it cover to cover, though, don’t worry! There are many other ways to evaluate a book’s suitability for your child. Many professional reviewers have read and rated children’s books by reading level and age appropriateness. Bookstores often have recommended reading ages listed. Also, you might want to see if other parents and kids in your network or online community have already read the book. It is an excellent way to get personalized recommendations for your child from people who know them well. 

Keep in mind your child’s reading habits.

When choosing a book, it’s essential to keep your child’s reading habits in mind. For example, are they reluctant readers? Do they tend to shy away from books? Or do they devour books like an omnivore? Knowing these things will aid you in selecting the best book for your youngster.

If your child is a reluctant reader, look for titles that are easy to read, ones where the words come quickly, and there’s plenty of action and humor. If your child tends to shy away from books, try finding engaging ones that address topics that interest them. A fictional baseball story about kids their age or a graphic novel about their favorite sport could help your child enjoy reading. 

If your child devours books like they are going out of style, you’ll have more options when picking out a book for them. Choose one with great reviews or one with characters or settings that sound interesting. Read it together once you’ve found the perfect book at your child’s reading level! Nothing helps develop good readers better than another good reader—you!

Look for books with short, easy-to-read sentences.

Image of books at a library

The next step is to look for books with short and easy-to-read sentences, especially for struggling and early readers. It is possible to do this by examining the length of each sentence in the book and the number of conjunctions utilized. For example, a sentence such as “I went outside to play with my friends” is much longer than “He ran fast.” 

It can be difficult for children to understand what they are reading if they struggle with more complex sentences. If you’re not sure what kind of text your child can read, ask a teacher before buying any books online. They might have suggestions based on their own experience with students in the same situation.

Find out what interests them.

It’s essential to start with what interests your child. That will encourage them and help them want to keep reading. Start by thinking about all the things your children love or are interested in, whether they’re books, movies, or activities. 

It’s possible to find books about almost any subject, from animals and sports to art and science, so you can find one that your child will enjoy.

If your child is still in the early stages of learning to read, you may want to consider choosing a picture book for them. Picture books often have high-interest themes with bright colors and beautiful illustrations that will engage young readers right away.

Read together and make it fun.

Pick a book that neither of you has read and set aside 30 minutes each day to read together. You will benefit from spending time with your child, and they might surprise you by reading the entire book.

Read books that interest them. Reading will be difficult if they are not interested in the subject matter, so try to choose books that have subjects that they enjoy.

Don’t make them feel bad if they cannot read the whole book or if it is too difficult for them right now. The goal is to encourage a love of reading, not discourage reading because it’s too hard or takes too long.

It is also important to be encouraging and make sure you’re doing it as a bonding activity rather than a lecture about how important education is. The child should feel comfortable around you and know that you will always be there for them even when things get tough at school or in life in general.

Choosing books that are right for your child can help improve their reading skills and confidence.

It’s a well-known fact among parents that books can help children improve their reading skills, but it is also true that choosing the right books for your child’s reading level can help even more. It may seem like a good idea to skip ahead and read aloud from high school level books when your child is still in elementary school, but this could make it harder for them to learn how to read. 

While reading high-level words may be impressive to your child, it will not necessarily teach them how to read those words themselves. For your child’s vocabulary to grow, they need to be able to pick up and understand terms without needing you or another adult there with them. It is so important to choose age-appropriate books at their current reading level.

Choosing the right books at the right time will help improve your child’s reading skills and boost their confidence in other areas. When students cannot read all of a book on their own, they quickly start feeling inadequate and frustrated when they once felt excited about learning something new. If you want your child’s self-confidence and ability to flourish, then provide them with a range of books suitable for their current reading level.

Author Bio:

Andrea Gibbs is the content manager at SpringHive Web Agency, where she helps create content for their clients’ blogs and websites. She is currently a blog contributor at Montessori Academy, a blog dedicated to helping parents with the ins and outs of parenting children within the Montessori tradition. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and her dog.