Children read or look at books for a number of different reasons. We ask children to read and look at books for a number of different reasons. One of the reasons we ask children to read to us is to teach them to read. If that is the activity we are engaged in with the child it is absolutely crucial that the book you are reading together is set at the learning level. The following general rule is suggested by Marie Clay who became famous within the world of education due to her Reading Recovery system.
Learning level = Child able to read 95 words in 100 (95%)
Frustration level = Child able to read less than 95 words in 100 (<95%)
Non learning level = Child able to read more than 95 words in 100 (>95%)
Obviously a few words either way is fine. This is a general rule. Ensuring a reading book is at the learning level is very easy. All you need is a piece of paper, the back of an envelope will do. A book, a child and you. Ask the child to read the book to you. As s/he reads, for each word correctly read do a / on the paper. For each word the child is unable to read do an X. You don’t actually need to let the child read 100 words, 50 will do and simply double the error count. It is probably best if you do the scoring away from the child’s view. Some people like to use an alternative to an X. / and – for instance, then the child doesn’t see an X. There is an example below done on the back of an envelope to give you a better idea.
Good luck, stick at it and most children get there in the end. If you feel that a child is not making progress we offer an advice service via e-mail.