I was going through a student’s independent reading bag the other day. I do this periodically to make sure my students are reading the right material during their independent reading time. If they are reading books that are too hard (they can’t decode or comprehend) they are wasting their time. But on the other hand, if they are choosing books that are too easy, they are not growing as readers. So, again, the book has to be just right….like Goldilock’s porridge.
When I was looking through my student’s bag I pulled out one book that looked a bit complicated. I turned the pages and saw that it was definitely too difficult for him. As soon as I picked it up he announced, “Miss Lori, that’s my dessert book.”
His dessert book…I loved it. I instantly knew what he meant. He had to eat dinner first with his just right books before he got to his dessert book. Beautiful.
I love this concept. When your child wants to read something that will be too hard for them you have some options.
1) You can read it with them as a read aloud. Read a chapter each night.
2) Have them put it on the book shelf and use it as a goal book – something that they strive to be able to read on their own. Explain that it may not be next week that they will read this, but it is there waiting for them when they are ready.
3) Make the book a dessert book. They have to read their just right books first for __ minutes (use timer) before going on to peruse their dessert book. This not only gets the just right reading done (because they so badly want to look at their dessert book), but the dessert book motivates them to want to read at a higher level.
Pick your battles with your child and NEVER fight over books. Give them choices so that they have control over their reading. The above three options will help them achieve their reading goals and will provide valuable lessons in book choice as well.
Go ahead – let them have their dessert!