I asked the kids to imagine that reading different levels of books is like riding that bike.
When they are reading books that are easy for them, it's like coasting down the hill. The kids describe reading easy books in these words:
1. You can read all the words.
2. There are few (or no) mistakes.
3. You can read quickly.
4. You read fluently.
5. You can understand what you are reading.
When children are reading books that are too hard for them, it's like struggling up that steep hill. Your muscles start to hurt. The kids described reading hard books in these words:
1. There are lots of really long words.
2. You have to solve lots of words.
3. You don't understand what you're reading.
4. You don't know what's going on.
5. It sounds slow and choppy.
***Sometimes children sound beautiful while reading books, but they are not understanding. These books are NOT just right. They are too hard.
When children are reading books that are just right for them, it's like riding on flat ground. You hit some bumps, a few small hills, but there's a lot of smooth sailing. The kids described reading just right books in these words:
1. You understand what's going on.
2. You can read lots of the words.
3. It feels sort of easy, sort of hard.
4. It sounds mostly fluent.
The vast majority of the time children should be reading books that are just right. Research has proven again and again that just right books will help children become proficient readers. Ask your child tonight if the book they are reading at home is just right. Challenge them further to explain what makes it just right.