Matching the right book with the right child is very important for many
Match the reading level of the book with the reading level of the child. Allowing some room for challenge is fine, but if the book is too difficult, the reader will lose interest or become frustrated.
Five finger rule:
Have the child read the first page aloud. Each time a word is unknown one finger goes up. If the child reaches 5 fingers (5 words) within one page, that book is too hard.
Other key reader's advisory strategies:
If you work in a public library, you will undoubtedly encounter the parent and child who approach together. The parent asks for a good book for the child, the child looks anywhere but at you or the books. Or you might see the case where the child wants one thing but the parent desires a “better” book. Both of these cases require special care. In the first, you need to draw the child into the interaction and get him or her interested in selecting the book while easing the parent out of the conversation. In the second, you need to find a compromise. Engage the two in dialog about what they each want and suggest titles that might fill both needs or suggest they take two, the child’s choice and the parents with the understanding that the child will read both.
Some other common scenarios are:
Whether in a school or public library, you no doubt encounter Accelerated Reader™ reader’s advisory. Accelerated Reader™ (AR) programs are found in schools across the country. With AR, children make selections from a predetermined series of books rated by reading level and, after reading the book, take a computerized test to determine comprehension and confirm reading level. Children are awarded a certain number points per book and collect points for rewards. School libraries base purchases on the school AR list, they have all the school list books available for students, and public libraries attempt to gather various area school lists to make them available for children and parents to choose library books from, although they may not have many of the books on the list. Even within a small public library collection, there should be enough titles within a certain level for children to choose from. Many paperback books have the reading level listed on the back, but hardcover books do not, so it would be difficult to determine exact level without looking at the list.
The Accelerated Reader™ program has drawn both accolades and concerns among educators and librarians, with many professionals still on the fence.
Pros include: kids discussing books and reading voraciously, professionals having a better handle on reading level and thus sense of understanding of material.
Cons include: rewards-base tricks kids into reading and points can become a
motivator instead of a love of reading.
Many public library parent-child/staff interactions begin with “Do you have the ___ School’s AR list?” and librarians often are required to recommend off the list. Another common question parents ask is “Just what do the listed levels mean?” The key thing to remember is a child in fourth grade may actually be reading on a 2.8 AR level. Schoolchildren generally know from previous testing at what level they should look, but parents may not understand that reading level does not necessarily correlate with grade. Having school AR (list) binders in the public library serves area families very well.
Effective reader’s advisory puts the right book in the hands of the reader. In order to accomplish this, staff needs to know the collection pretty well, but should not be expected to know it all. They should be encouraged to read widely, push their limits, and become familiar with many genres by reading a sampling of titles or at least one classic in the genre. They should work to be aware of authors or series, and have read at least a small representation of titles in different parts of the collection. Having access to, and regularly reading, library journals and book reviews will aid in developing at least a cursory familiarity with authors and titles from which to draw upon at just the right moment.
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