Whether you have an avid reader or a child who doesn’t like to read, the spectrum of available books can be a tad overwhelming. How do you find titles that work within your child’s reading level but also helps them progress? What if they’re reading at a higher level but you don’t want them reading too much adult fiction? It’s a tricky road to navigate, but there are some tips about finding the right books for your child.

Working Within Their Reading Scope

If your child struggles to read, picking books that are a little under their reading level may actually help them. Most children who do not enjoy reading are usually more overwhelmed and stressed about reading, whether it’s about grasping the subject, nervous they won’t understand, or even struggles with dyslexia. There can be a 101 reasons why your kid may not like to read, but reading is a highly positive experience in their learning journey. You don’t have to shove books down their throat, but they will have to read everyday in the classroom anyway, so it’s up to you to help them find their rhythm. 

Many times, having them read a book that is a little under their reading level can make it easier for them to comprehend. It’s also going to be a faster read for them, and they will feel accomplished getting a few shorter books under their belt. The same can be said of children who love to read, and are flying through the available books on your shelves! They can go up a reading level if need be, and you’ll have to pick a few titles to make sure they are still age-appropriate. It may also be worth it to have them complete a reading test to even be sure of your child’s reading level and what they can and can’t handle. 


Even if your child may enjoy the book, they also have to understand it to a certain degree. You can use a vocabulary test to ensure the book isn’t too much for your child to handle. Hold your hand up with all five fingers out, and have your child read a book out loud. For every word they don’t know, use up one of your fingers. If they read the entire page and don’t understand the five words from your hand, then the book may be a little too much for them. 

You’ll also want to ask them questions about the book to make sure they understand the plot and character motivations as well. They may understand the words and what is being said, but ensuring they are also following along with the story and potential overarching themes will mean your children are reading at the right level.

Katie Kyzivat