To help students become fluent readers, they need to spend most of their reading time with books they can read at 99-100% accuracy. To help students grasp this, I focus on teaching students to read “good-fit” books. This strategy fits under Fluency on the CAFÉ menu. In second grade, chapter books quickly become the “in” thing to read. As soon as students see a classmate holding a chapter book, they quickly realize that they, too, want to hold a chapter book. This becomes a problem, because this is exactly what they do… hold a chapter book. They are not reading the words, but they try their hardest to pretend to read it. I really focus on “Good Fit” books throughout the entire year. I try to help those itching for chapter books find chapter books that “fit” them well. I also help them find high-interest picture books at their level. Leading them to books they can read independently will keep them on task during reading and also help build their fluency.
Explaining the Strategy:
“Is that a good-fit book for you? Show me how you know.”
“Show me a good-fit book for you.”
Ideas for Teaching:
- Teach students to remember I PICK good-fit books.
- Introduce this strategy using the lesson in The Daily Five. Bring in different types of shoes, such as gym shoes, slippers, high heels, or cleats. Explain that each pair of shoes has a different purpose, just like books do. Also, show that some shoes may be for the right purpose, but may not fit well (model this with shoes that are too small or too large for you). Refer to this analogy throughout the year when discussing good-fit books.
- Help students book shop in you classroom or school library. With each student, take time to find books that interest him or her. Model the I PICK strategy, and have them try it out with you guiding them.
This website offers a lesson on teaching children to choose just-right books. It uses an analogy of Goldilocks and the Three Bears to help even the youngest students understand.
This is a website that uses the five-finger rule for choosing a just-right book.
Supporting Picture Books:
Boelts, M. (2007). Those shoes. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.
- This book by Maribeth Boelts can go along with a lesson relating good-fit shoes to good-fit books.
Brett, J. (1987). Goldilocks and the three bears. New York, NY: The Putnam & Grosset Group.
- This book can support the lesson on using Goldilocks and the Three Bears to teach just-right books.
Crews, D. (1996). Shortcut. New York, NY: Greenwillow Books.
- This books, along with many others by Donald Crews, offer those struggling readers with good picture books they can read on their own.
Johnson, A. (1993). Do like Kyla. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc.
- Angela Johnson also writes many books that are appropriate for the younger readers.
Boushey, G., & Moser, J. (2009). The cafe book. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.
Boushey, G., & Moser, J. (2006). The daily 5. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.