Choose Books for Your Child at Their Reading Level — Here’s How


If you’re like most parents, you want to encourage your child to develop strong literacy skills and hopefully even foster a lifelong love of reading. Maybe you want your kids to have more exposure to books and reading than you had growing up, or maybe you’re just not sure how to choose reading material for a child. Whether your child is just starting to read, or is an advanced reader with a sagging shelf full of classic children’s chapter books, it can be hard to know which texts will offer just the right mix of challenge and interest to keep your child hooked but help him or her learn something, too.

Fortunately, it’s not that hard to choose books for your child’s reading level. While you should probably evaluate individual leveled books to see if they’re too hard for your children, reading levels can be a helpful tool to point you towards the right books. Allow your child to choose some or all of his or her own reading material, and be ready to help with difficult concepts or tricky passages. 

Find Your Child’s Reading Level

Most school systems measure pupils’ reading levels at the beginning of the year, so your child’s school or teacher should be able to tell you what his or her reading level is. You can use the San Diego Quick Assessment to get at least a rough idea of your child’s reading level if you don’t have access to data from your child’s school, or if you homeschool.

Once you know your child’s reading level, you can choose leveled books as appropriate. When choosing books for your child, consider his or her interests, as well as what authors or genres he or she has enjoyed reading before. While children with more advanced reading skills might be interested in chapter books, kids who are still working on basic literacy skills might be more interested in picture books.  Graphic novels are also a good choice for young readers, as the pictures can spark enough interest to encourage kids to stick with the reading even when it gets more challenging.

Let Your Child Choose His or Her Own Reading Material

The best way to ensure that your kids will stay interested and engage in the books you buy for them is to let them choose books for themselves. Kids may be interested in books because of their titles, cover art, or pictures. If your kids need help finding books they might be interested in, ask them questions about what kinds of stories (or movies or cartoons) they like best and steer them towards those genres. You can also recommend classic children’s books you may have loved as a child, as long as they’re appropriate for your child’s reading level.

Use the Five-Finger Test

Reading levels can point you in the direction of books that your child will be able to learn from and enjoy, with tools like the Scholastic Book Wizard available to help you browse for books at your child’s reading level. When it comes to deciding whether an individual book is right for your child, and neither too challenging or too easy, you need to use the five-finger test.

For the five-finger test, ask your child to hold up five fingers, and then read a page of the book. Have your child put down one finger for each word he or she hears that he or she doesn’t know. If your child puts down all five fingers before you reach the end of the page, the book is too challenging. If your child puts down no fingers, the book might be too easy.

You should always encourage your child to read books that will challenge him or her and help him or her learn more and build more literacy skills, but you can let your child read a too-easy book sometimes if it holds his or her interest and is at his or her reading level. If your child is interested in reading a too-hard book, though, don’t tell him or her that he or she can’t. Instead, say that the book might be more challenging than other books he or she has read, and offer to read it together. You can take turns reading pages aloud, and talk about difficult words or confusing passages or plot points. Help your child learn to research things he or she doesn’t understand and look up words online or figure out their meanings using context clues. That way, your child will feel supported in tackling a more challenging text, and will have the tools to grapple with it successfully. 

Books that are too easy for your child are likely to bore him or her, but books that are too hard might leave him or her feeling discouraged. Help your child stay engaged with books that are both interesting and challenging. That’s how you turn your child into a lifelong reader.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 months ago

Books are a great choice! I’m so happy that many parents choose books for their free time with their children and didn’t use smartphones or tablets! But parents, that use electronic devices, you can read reviews for the best parental control apps

3 months ago

In fact, to select a good book to read it is not easy and here it is better to turn to professionals in these cases, who already know how to pick up the best book. For example you can read the same Macbeth, but it is usually not easy because of the complex presentation. So you can read reviews of it  from this page . I recommend reading it, I think it will be useful to many especially students who need to analyze it. Good luck, I hope that I was able to help someone with this difficult case.

Charly Wiliamse
Charly Wiliamse
2 months ago

Nice to hear that!

Larry Conway
Larry Conway
1 month ago

Choose a book for the kids is very important, 1 to5 age kids have a mind like the empty bowl you can put anything in it if you give them good book it will help them to become a positive man or woman, wiki page creation agency created lots of good books pages on wikipedia you get help from there

24 days ago
Reply to  Larry Conway

Reading this is very useful. Reading and books really develop the brain. This book is interesting. Read it and tell you how it works. The site also has different types of books. You’ll definitely find something for yourself.