Reading the appropriate book level is important aspect of developing proficient, independent readers. One of the simplest ways to know if a book is "just right" at any age level is by using the 5 Finger Rule.
After a child has selected a book on their own, have them turn to the second page of the book and read aloud to you. Without embarassment or prompting, keep track of the words that are too difficult for them to read on each finger. Once they have reached five fingers it is an indication that the book may be too difficult for them to read independently. Here is the most important part, suggest reading the book together. Choice plays a significant role in fostering a love for reading. Too often children are required to read books they didn't choose due to leveling and proficiancy demands within the school environment. As a parent, you can reclaim some of the love for reading by reading together a few minutes each day even if the book is too difficult independently.
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