This weekend, my daughter read three books. In about two hours. No, she’s not a speed reader, she just read books that were really, really easy for her. And, I totally endorsed it.
In fact, I want you to try it with your kids as well. Reading too easy books is a great strategy to get your kids back into the habit of reading again. But, that’s not all. There are specific reasons why reading easy books sometimes (not all the time) helps children with their reading.
How Reading Easy Books Benefits Your Child
1. Builds Confidence
Look, mom, I can read this book! In fact, I can read it fast or even twice.
You want kids to believe in their capacity for reading. For children who are discouraged or frustrated, allowing them to read old favorites or too easy books is so important in building their confidence. Hopefully, they’ll go back to reading books at their reading level with renewed confidence and enthusiasm.
Get the whole family into the awesomeness of your child reading. Have your child read to you or a sibling. Be very impressed. Because it is pretty dang cool!
2. Builds Fluency
Your kids must know how to read fluently, in other words, read words and sentences with ease. Practicing reading in an easy book is the best way. This is because in easier books, kids are not decoding words because they already know the words. They’re only working on getting the flow of the sentences.
3. Is FUN!
You may remember my post on recommended summer reading for adults. I call these my fluff books — and I think we all have those books. They’re the not-too-hard, not-literary books that we might not want to admit reading. But I love them for the vacation they give my brain. They’re easy, pure entertainment.
Same for kids.
Sometimes it’s just fun to read those new books in a series you loved in first grade. Or to be able to say you read a book in 30 minutes. Or just to not be required to think so hard.
Again, reading easy books isn’t good ALL the time. It’s like a healthy diet, right? Everything in moderation, even fluff books.
4. Improves Comprehension
No worries about what words mean. Your child knows them all. They only have to understand the meaning of the story and not worry about losing momentum. For kids with attention issues or trouble decoding words, this is particularly significant.
5. Improves Reading Skills
To become a better reader is like any other skill. Practice makes better. With the exception of a learning issue, more reading improves reading skills — skills like predicting, visualizing, inferring, and so on. Of course, this won’t happen if they ONLY read easy books. But’s it’s totally okay for sometimes!
How to Find Easy Books
One way is to look on your bookshelf for books your child has already read before. Remember, multiple readings of the same book is actually not a bad thing either.
You’ll probably be able to tell at a glance if a book will be easy for your child. (Bigger text size, more white space, more illustrations.) But no worries if you aren’t sure. Just remember the Five Finger Rule. Read a page and count how many words you miss. Zero is an easy book. One to five is a just right book and more than five is a challenge. (If you’re looking on Amazon, look at a preview page.)
Let your kids pick the books. Choice is a huge part of reading buy-in.
If you want, peruse through my book lists with your kids. Start with what genre they want to read and go from there.
Summer Reading Book Lists:
Download my "Can't Put 'Em Down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.
Also, I'll send you a bonus "23 Reasons to Read" printable poster!