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Keene Public Library

Selecting Books for Kids

How can you tell if a book is the right reading level for your child? There are several different ways to work out whether books are at an appropriate level.

When trying to judge the reading difficulty of a book, keep these suggestions in mind:

  • the ratio of pictures to words 
  • the difficulty of words
  • the complexity of the story

Publishers sometimes print the grade or recommended age level on the back of the book or a book jacket. Keep in mind that if you select a book beyond a child's reading level, it can be read to them now and later on by the child.

One of the easiest ways to determine if a book is at an appropriate reading level for your child is the 'five finger rule.' Have your child begin reading a chapter and put down one finger each time they struggle with a word. If they reach the end of the page before you get to five fingers, the book is written at a comfortable level for independent reading.

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