“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” –Walt Disney
Selecting Independent Reading
When selecting materials (books, magazines, websites) for your child to read at home, he or she should always have one “Just Right” or independent reading material. This means that he or she can read the words (decode) and understand (comprehend) the text on his or her own. This will usually not be the same level that he or she reads at during guided reading in the classroom which takes place at an instructional level.
can read ALL but 0-2 words on a full page (or 2) without getting stuck
gets stuck on 3 or more words on a page
reads smoothly, with good rate (not too slow, not too fast)
choppy, slow reading
can make meaning/understand all events and details easily
can’t recall information read/no or little understanding
has some background knowledge of the material in book
has no background knowledge of material in book
can make connections, ask questions, visualize, and interpret what’s happening in book
cannot make connections, visualize events, or make deeper meaning
finds the text interesting
For independent reading there are three main things a child should be able to do after reading to demonstrate that he or she can comprehend the text:
1. Retell the beginning, middle, and end of the story.
2. Answer questions (who, what, where, when, why, how) about what has happened in the book.
3. Compare and contrast with other characters, themes, or stories (depending on your child's grade level).
Do quick informal checks when they are reading a new book at home. The answers don’t have to be perfect, but if your child is struggling to come up with answers, you may want to find an easier text.
Top 5 ways to support comprehension:
1. Read to your child!
(no matter how old they are, all kids like to be read to!)
2. Read WITH your child.
- take turns
- read poetry or rhyme in unison
- read the same book and then get together to discuss it
3. Provide your child with time to read his or her "just right" book choices by him/herself.
4. Model reading by yourself.
(Modeling is a powerful teaching tool! Show your child that you read also!)
5. Talk with your child about what he or she is reading.
- encourage them to share their thinking with you
- use some questions/prompts to support comprehension
- discuss a book's themes and big ideas
- tell your child about your own thinking while you read
- Visit the West Hartford Public Library and ask a librarian to suggest titles for your child. FYI, you can use your WHPL card to check out books from any library in the state. You can also return library books to any library in the state.
- The Wolcott Library offers NoveList K-8 Plus. If you’ve just finished a great book, log into NoveList and find great read-alikes. Consider NoveList your one-stop guide to great reading. It contains lists of recommended reads and award-winning books. It covers both fiction and nonfiction titles.
- Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children's books. Here you will find links to the current and past books. http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/notalists
- Scholastic Book Wizard allows you to search for books similar to a book you already enjoyed, based on a reading level, or you can search all books in the wizard. It also features videos, author interviews, suggested book lists, and book discussion guides. http://www.scholastic.com/bookwizard/
- They also have an app for iPhone and iPad.
- New York Public Library maintains a great page of suggested reading. http://kids.nypl.org/book-lists?ListID=60
- Read Kiddo Read http://www.readkiddoread.com/
- Books in a Series will help you find the next great series or just find the next book in a series. http://www.mymcpl.org/books-movies-music/juvenile-series
- Students can also read articles and ebooks on websites such as those featured on the Online Resources page on the Wolcott library website.