How To P.I.C.K. The Right Books to Teach Kids to Read
Want to know a secret? Helping children learn how to choose the right book to read is simple!
It’s all about one little word that they can keep in their back pocket whenever they’re in the library, at the classroom reading center, or at the book fair.
All they need to remember is P.I.C.K.
P.I.C.K. stands for Purpose, Interest, Comprehension, and Know the Words.
The Purpose of the Book For Your Child to Read
P is for Purpose: Why are you looking for a book in the first place? Is it totally a free choice, or is there a reason for reading?
In order to help children determine their reading purpose, try asking them the following simple questions :
- Are you reading for pleasure?
- Are you trying to learn something?
- Is the book going to be read silently or aloud?
- Who is the audience?
In most cases, purpose for reading can be found with a quick answer to any of those questions.
Interesting Books to Teach Kids to Read
I is for Interest: When choosing the books to teach kids to read the book needs to be interesting.
With the countless number of books on the shelves today, there is definitely a book out there for everyone!
If a child is interested in cars, no need to stop at fictional stories about cars, but books about racetracks, car construction, the history of racing, racecar drivers, or even car design.
If magic is more of their interest, look for books about magic shows, magic tricks, and magicians, and even books about science and invention.
When time is in short supply, children can quickly determine their interest by:
- Looking at the front cover
- Flip through pages to find photos or illustrations
- Reading the back cover
- Reading the chapter titles
Comprehend Which Books At the Level Your Child Can Read
C is for Comprehend: When selecting a book, is it one that your child can actually comprehend?
Can they understand what they’re reading? Is the book appropriate for their reading level or abilities?
Don’t underestimate children as they are often more aware of their reading “level” than we may think.
So it’s okay to remind them that if they’re choosing a book to read independently and they read at a Level A (for example), that they maybe shouldn’t pick a book from the Level M basket.
If the books aren’t labelled by level, no need to worry, they can quickly assess the book for themselves by opening to a page and seeing if they are able to understand what they read.
Children can determine comprehension by asking themselves:
- Did I understand what I just read?
- Do I remember what I read?
- Was I able to read most of the words?
Know The Words When Choosing the Right Book for Teaching Kids to Read
K is for Know the Words: When reading a book, readers should be able to decode and understand the majority of the words on the page.
A little trick to help kids remember is the “Five Finger Rule”.
The “Five Finger Rule” outlines a general idea of how many words the reader should be able to read on each page.
- 0-1 unknown words= the book is too easy
- 2-3 unknown words= the book is just right
- 4-5 unknown words= the book is too difficult
Knowing the P.I.C.K. trick is empowering for kids as they want to know how to choose books that are the best fit for them, books that are enjoyable, fun, and exciting.
This technique is all about giving kids the right tools to be strong, successful, and confident readers.
More Help Choosing the Best Books to Teach Kids How to Read
If you’re looking for a few more points to add to P.I.C.K. you can:
Read a Family Favorite: remember what your favorite books were when you were a child? Talk about it and pass it on as as a good recommendation as one of the books to help teach your child to read.
If you both have read the same book, then this can create a dialogue about what they liked about it and can share their thoughts. This is a fun way to get to know your family better and they’ll add another book to their library!
Go to Where All the Books Are
Ask an expert about books to teach kids to read: don’t forget about your local library or any national free reading resources! These are great sources of children’s learning to read material with a whole range of content for readers at all levels.
It’s a great place to find books that you’ll love, and you don’t have to search by yourself.
Tell the librarian about your interests—sports, history, music, or any other interests—and any other books that you like; the librarian can then help you find other books you are sure to love! And as a teacher, don’t be afraid to ask us for suggestions too!
Spread the Love of Reading: share the love of reading and books with some friends and trade favorite books! It’s always fun and interesting to see what friends are reading, and if you have a few friends who aren’t necessarily “bookworms”, you can encourage them to read and share some best book to teach kids how to read and the authors you like that might suit their reading preferences!
Remember, every child learns at their own pace, so it’s best to make this process encouraging and enjoyable.
By reading daily, having fun with activities, and even having your child pick their own books as their skills grow, will instill a love of reading and set them up for the ultimate reading success.
Teaching children is not a simple task, and if after reading these steps you’re left feeling a little overwhelmed, no need to worry, I have a solution for that too!
Click the link below to see how Sarah Shepard, a fellow teacher, has taught over 35,000 children how to read with her program Reading Head Start!