When students have the opportunity to choose a book from their classroom, school, or public library, they should be able to make good choices so that the books fit their needs. Taking their interests, motivation, and ability into account helps students make decisions.
Anchoring students in finding books using skills they can keep for a life-time permits them to be proactive about their own book selections. It’s like when you choose a sweater for the Christmas party. First, you know what you like in colors and styles. Then, you think about the fabric and how you will be using it. There are usually several sweaters to choose from, so you think about size last.
When students are choosing books, they should think about their interests and what type of topics (colors) or genres (styles) they like best. Then they need to think about their motivation. Are they choosing a book to read for fun or for an assignment in school? Is it for self-selected reading time during the day? A child’s motivation for reading is nearly as important as the type of book.
Finally, they should think about their ability and read one page, and hold up their hand. For every confusing word or unknown word, they should put down a finger. If its boring, they should put down a finger. If they don't understand a sentence or paragraph, they should put down a finger. If all their fingers are still up, it is too easy. If they are all down, the book is too hard.
Erin Rae is the Curriculum Coordinator at Lockport 91.