• The importance of "Just Right" books
       In Media, one of our goals for ALL students at all grades is that they self-select books.  The Media Center is a place where students can pick books that they love, that they are interested in, and that help them to enjoy reading and learning.  During library check out students self-select  books that they are interested in. Atleast one book should be a "Just Right" book.
     A book is "Just Right" when

    • The student WANTS to read the book because it is interesting to them or has a purpose for them.
    • The student CAN read the book.
    • The “reader’s purpose” MATCHES the “author’s purpose”.

      Why we read "Just Right" books
         A "just right" book is neither too hard nor too easy.  Teachers want students to read "Just Right" books because they are hard enough to challenge them to reach new reading levels.  Students are not learning when the book is too easy, and when it is too hard, a student will more than likely abandon the book.

      How to help your child select "Just Right" books

      Selecting "Just Right" books is a skill practiced in Media by students in Grades 1-3 and is reinforced in the upper grades.  One way you can support your child is by teaching them the Five Finger Rule.  This is how the Five Finger Rule Works:

    • Open the book.  Read the first page.
    • Put up one finger for every word you do not know or understand.
    • If 4-5 fingers go up, the book is too hard. You will need to read with them.
    • If 0-1 fingers go up, the book is too easy.They should read it to a younger child.
    • If 2-3 fingers go up, the book is JUST RIGHT.

      Using a Lexile score to help select a "Just Right" book

      If you know your child's Lexile Range, this will help identify a broad range of books that are good starting places for selecting a "Just Right" book. The website Lexile.com can help identify books in a particular range.

    • Go to www.lexile.com/findabook
    • Put in the child's lexile range (this is about 100 points lower and 100 points higher than the actual Lexile score).
    • Choose areas of interest
    • Book lists are then displayed (with pictures of the covers)

      Using the online catalog, Destiny Quest and other limiters to select a "Just Right" book

      The online catalog can be used to narrow your search according to interest, grade and reading levels using the refine or narrow your search forms. Another option is Destiny Quest.

      The Destiny Quest catalog located on the left menu bar allows you to limit search results to easily find what you need. It uses a variety of limiters. For example, it uses Lexile ranges for many books although some books do not have a lexile score. You can find a lexile score within the book's summary information.  You can also limit a search to books in a particular range.
          1.  Do a search in the Find field. (Ex. cats)

          2.  Under the Narrow Your Search field on the left, select Lexile.

          3.  Drag the left and right handles to approximate your child's Lexile range and select Apply.

          4.  The books displayed will fall within your selected Lexile range.

      You can also use interest levels and reading levels to narrow your search. You can find a lexile score within the book's summary information.  You can also limit a search to books in a particular range.
          1.  Do a search in the Find field. (Ex. cats)

          2.  Under the Narrow Your Search field on the left, select Lexile.

          3.  Drag the left and right handles to approximate your child's Lexile range and select Apply.

          4.  The books displayed will fall within your selected Lexile range.

       Which book am I interested in exploring today?

      Other resources to help select an appropriate book

      There are other resources to aid in book selection:

      1.  Scholastic's Book Wizard allows you to search by Lexile, Reading Level Equivalent, and more.

      2.  What Should I Read Next uses the favorites lists of it's registered users to recommend books.  Many of these books may not be just right.  When you type in a favorite or recently read book, the system will return suggestions that appear on other users' favorites list that include your searched for book.  So, the system cannot guarantee that these books are appropriate in terms of content or reading level.  It can, however, be an interesting way to discover titles you may not have read before.

      3. The Kids Book Series website,  helps make parents' and educators' jobs easier by helping them select the right books for their kids, and provides an easy way for them to find and buy the books online once they have decided on a book or set of books.

      If you are concerned about your child's book selection
       
      If you are concerned that the books your child is self-selecting are not at their level, please discuss your feelings with your child.  While we teach and remind students about how to select books, the choice ultimately is the student's.  They may be choosing books that entertain them or to share with someone at home as well as a book at their reading level. Please review the Five Finger Rule with your child, or use one of the above resources to select the perfect book.  We encourage parents to decide with their child what is appropriate for them to check out.