The benefits of reading do not stop at the educational level. Reading allows children to become smarter about the world and how it works. They develop a better understanding of other cultures, of human nature, human experiences and decision-making. Reading even nurtures a greater level of community participation in our children. With all these benefits, what’s stopping us from bringing out the inner reader in our children?
For many children and parents, not knowing what to read is also cited as a reason why many children do not read enough. Having said that, children also show more will to read when they get to choose the book they read. The role of parents then is to provide the guidance so that children select books appropriately. Apart from knowing your child’s interests well, here’s a simple way to categorise books according to levels of difficulty.
The Five-Finger Rule and Holidays, Just Rights & Challenges
Step 1: Have your child select a book
Step 2: Get him to read a page in the middle of the book, and using your one hand as a tracker, take note of the number of words that your child is unfamiliar with
- No fingers up -- the book is an easy read (a Holiday)
- Three or four fingers up -- the book helps the reader practice and gain experience (Just Right)
- More than four fingers up -- the book is probably too difficult for your child to read right now (a Challenge)
Children should spend some time with each category of books but most of their time should be dedicated to Just Rights. When it comes to the development of literacy (especially reading) skills, recognising high-frequency words and learning how to read fluently are usually two of the most common expected learning outcomes from parents. However, what's more important should be the child’s level of understanding; how the words and sentences are decoded by the child.