On day 3 and 4 this week (Monday and Tuesday), we’ll be reviewing our independent reading progress and goals. We’ll also be talking about how to choose ‘Just Right’ books.
Just right books are not too hard, and not too easy. Reading books like this is the fastest way to get better at reading. You’ll know a book is too hard if you can’t read or understand many of the words, or if the story does not make sense to you. You’ll know a book is too easy if you feel like you could have read it last year or the year before! Here are a few things you can do to find a just right book.
- Ask your Humanities or EAL teacher for a recommendation. They know you as a reader, and they may be able to suggest a good book to read.
- Use the five-finger rule. Pick up an interesting book and try reading the first page. Use your fingers to count the number of words you either can’t read or don’t know. If you count more than five, the book is probably too challenging for now.
- Read a book in a series you’ve already read, or read another book by an author you like. Books that come in groups, like Narnia or The Hunger Games are usually at similar reading levels. If the first one was just right, then the other ones probably will be too.
Finding a just right book is not a science. If you are really interested in a book, you may be able to understand it even if it is little too challenging. But you’ll have to work at it. Also, if you’ve seen the movie of a book, you may be able to read it even if it is a little too hard. (I was once able to struggle through Harry Potter in Hindi even though it was too hard for me, because I’d read it in English! But nowadays, my just right level in Hindi is really more like the magazine in the picture I posted here!)
We’ll talk more about just right books in class and when we meet to talk about goals.