The 5-Finger Rule and Choosing a Just Right Book

The 5-Finger Rule

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A just right book is a book that your child can enjoy reading on their own. the 5-Finger Rule is s strategy to help you find a book suitable for your child’s ability to read words. Here is how it works. Open up to the middle of the book and have your child start reading the page. For each word your child doesn’t know, hold up one finger. If at the end of the page you have:

  • 5 or more fingers – too challenging
  • 4 fingers – very challenging
  • 2-3 fingers – just right
  • 0-1 fingers – too easy

Remember, this strategy only checks a child’s word fluency. It does not check a child’s comprehension or understanding of a story. Here are a few simple questions you can ask your child to check for comprehension.

  • Who was in the story?
  • What happened in the story?
  • Where did the story take place?


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