No parent wants their child to fall behind, but unfortunately, some children will struggle to develop critical reading skills in elementary school. The best way for your child to improve their reading skills is to practice. After all, practice makes perfect. But what should they read? Follow these tips to find the right books for struggling readers:
Stick to Topics of Interest
Falling behind in reading is frustrating and disheartening, which is why struggling readers are often reluctant readers. Now is not the time to try to get them to develop new interests. To keep your child motivated, choose books on topics that they already like.
Reading books about topics that they are interested in will keep them engaged and help them build their confidence. Once they are more confident in their reading abilities, they may be open to exploring a wider variety of reading materials.
Take the “High/Low” Approach
Many experts recommend using the “high interest, low vocabulary” approach when looking for the right books for your struggling reader. This means finding a book at an appropriate reading level that is about a topic that interests your child.
The best high/low books will have limited vocabulary and simple sentence structure, but compelling characters and interesting plots. Ideally, a high/low book should not make your child feel like they are reading a “baby book.” For example, if your child is in 3rd grade but reading at a 1st grade level, it’s important to look for a book that doesn’t make them feel as if they are reading a book written for 1st graders.
By using this approach, parents can find books at an appropriate reading level that their kids will be excited about reading.
Use the Five Finger Test
Another way to determine if a book is a good fit for your struggling reader is to use the five finger test. Here’s how it works:
- If your child finds a book that they would like to read, ask them to flip to a random page in the middle of the book.
- Instruct your child to read a passage from this random page aloud.
- Listen closely as your child reads. Hold up one finger every time your child mispronounces a word.
- If you did not raise a finger, the book is ideal for independent reading, which is reading your child does on their own. If you raised more than five fingers, the book is too challenging for your child to practice with. But if you raised between one to five fingers, the book is ideal for instructional reading, which is reading your child does to improve their reading skills.
Use this simple test to quickly find books that are at the right level for your child.
Choose the Right Genre
Some genres are better for struggling readers than others. For example, reading a mystery novel requires strong comprehension skills, so this genre is not ideal for struggling readers.
The best genres for struggling readers are graphic novels and non-fiction books. Graphic novels typically have eye-catching illustrations and exciting plotlines that will keep kids engaged. Non-fiction books also have detailed illustrations that make understanding the text much easier. Plus, non-fiction books are usually written with short, simple sentences that won’t intimidate or overwhelm struggling readers.
Look For Context Clues
If your child is a struggling reader, chances are they will encounter a number of words that they aren’t familiar with while reading a new book. They will need help decoding these words in order to comprehend the text, which is why you should look for books that provide strong context clues.
For example, select books with detailed illustrations that your child can use to make sense of a confusing or difficult passage. Learning how to use context clues to extract meaning from text is important, so this will give your child an opportunity to develop this crucial reading skill.
Turn to the Readability App
There’s no need to spend hours at the library or bookstore looking for the right books for your struggling reader. Instead, download the Readability app on your smartphone or tablet.
Readability is the only smart reading and comprehension app that your child can use anytime, anywhere. The app will start by introducing your child to content that is one level lower than their reading level. This will build their confidence and motivate them to keep reading. As they improve their phonics and comprehension skills, the app will automatically increase the difficulty of the content they read.
Your search for the perfect books for your struggling reader is over—download the Readability app to start your free 7-day trial today.