Now that the school year is underway and cooler weather is just around the corner, parents may want to start thinking about setting up a reading program for their children. There is no longer any doubt that reading enhances a child’s imagination, expands their knowledge base, and makes them far more likely to excel in other areas of learning as they go forward. Providing your child with the correct books that offer just the right amount of support, while still presenting a challenge they can be successful at, is an important part of any positive reading experience for children of all ages. Matching the reading level of a child with an appropriate book however is not always an easy task. In fact there have been whole books written on the subject.
An easy text is considered to be one which a child can read with a high degree of accuracy, 95% or better. For new readers this would be a text that would include lots of illustrations and other clues that are related to the story. Reading this type of text allows children to successfully practice reading behaviours which can lead to becoming an independent reader at home or during reading opportunities at school.
A challenging text is one which is read with about 90-95% accuracy. This type of book will provide a few challenges sprinkled throughout a story which the child can for the most part successfully negotiate. This type of reading provides the best opportunity for growth if supported by a parent, older sibling or other tutor.
A very difficult text is one which is read with less than 90% accuracy. Children reading such texts will frequently become lost or frustrated, which does not contribute to a meaningful learning experience. These are the types of books that are usually put down quickly or that children find themselves struggling through as a required school reading experience.
In order to assist parents and others in selecting appropriate texts for their young readers, the following points are provided for consideration:
- How complicated are the ideas being presented in the book
- How complex is the vocabulary and grammar
- How long is the book
- How much writing is on each page
- How big or small is the text on the page and where is it located
- How good are the illustrations at providing support
If this sounds a little too complicated a good idea may be to supervise while the child is allowed to pick a book that interests them. For further information about helping your young reader, or assistance in selecting suitable material, please call Alex at the College of New Caledonia Learning Hub 996-7019, or contact the Fort St. James Centennial Library.