Ask the librarian for help in choosing books. Spend time discussing what books to choose. Read the blurb on the back. Skim through the book. Look at the pictures and size of the text. Borrow books that appeal to your children. (Forget the difficulty level for the moment.)
Children Benefit From Three Levels Of Books
1. Read-Aloud Books
Read the harder but interesting books your child wants to listen to, as your child ‘follows with his eyes’ whilst sitting next to you. This is how good readers became so good – by being read to, and then finishing the book themselves.
2. Books Children Can Read Themselves
a) Five finger method
This is a great method for silent testing. Have your learner read aloud with no help at all from you. To gauge their current reading level, put a finger down for every unknown or difficult word. Don’t count names of people or places. If you end up with five fingers down on any page, the book is too hard! Choose an easier one – lots of easy ones!
b) One word in 25 unknown
Use as a benchmark for books having little text on each page e.g. many excellent illustrated children’s books.
3. In-Between Books
These are a bit too hard but your child wants to read the book anyway. You skim read each chapter first and note the sentences or parts that your child can read aloud. Stop at an interesting part. Let your child finish reading the rest of the chapter silently to himself or herself before going to sleep. Don’t worry if your child can’t read every single word, provided that he or she understands and enjoys the story. Read the rest of the chapter yourself but pretend you haven’t, and then ask your child to tell you what happened.
Choose A Suitable Place For Lessons
Use comfortable side-by-side seating at a table. Shared reading may be side-by-side on a sofa. Sometimes it’s just great to sit on the floor! Find a quiet area with no other children running around, and keep the television and radio turned off.