Picking the Right Book

Yesterday was a normal “home” day until I got a call from the bank that they needed my signature for my daughter’s account. I love my bank! It’s like going to see a bunch of friends whenever I go there, especially with Molly in tow. traveling-molly

While I was there, I told one of the ladies about being an Usborne consultant because I know she has two children. She mentioned how her son, a fifth grader, doesn’t like to read, and her daughter, a four year old, knows some sight words, but always makes up her own story while they read together. I offered to email her some suggestions from the fall catalog (the spring one isn’t digital yet).

So that brings me to my first post (yay!) and one of the most important parts of making a kid a reader…finding the right book. So many parents have told me that their child “hates” reading and I always say that’s because they haven’t found what works for them.

This post is for teachers and parents of all grade levels.


  1. What is the student’s reading level? This is HUGE! You can’t give a student reading on a third grade level Romeo and Juliet because they can get frustrated with their lack of comprehension. When this happens, students won’t read the text, which is why you see students daydream, act out, etc. On the flip side, you don’t want a text that’s too easy for them either. Students are still growing as readers, even in middle school, and sometimes high school, and therefore need to be challenged to further their growth. So, it’s really a balancing act.
  2. What are the student’s interests? colorful-question-markSometimes you may know the student and this part is easy, but other times you need to spend some time talking to the student to discover this. The key is to ask questions. What do you like to do in your free time? What kind of movies do you like? What is your favorite book? What hobbies do you have? Etc. Some kids can talk your ear off while others just stare at you.  Change up the types of questions that you ask to get more information.
  3. How is my knowledge of children’s literature? I am one of those teachers who reads what my kids read. I tell my students I speak many different languages. I’m fluent in Divergent, Harry Potter, The Shadow Children, etc. and they love that. Kids love to talk about what they read, and as a teacher it’s important that you know how to engage in the conversation. Students look to you to suggest books for them, so you need to be ready with a couple different options. If you struggle with this, talk to your school media specialist, other teachers, and friends. It’s important to keep up with the current trends in children’s literature and young adult.


  1. Find what your kids like. My husband loves to watch American Pickers on A&E, and while it’s interesting, I truly can’t watch it all night. When it’s on, I hop on Netflix or Hulu on my iPad and tune it out. The same concept goes for kids. If they aren’t interested in the material they want nothing to do with it. Also, just because you like Nancy Drew doesn’t mean that your child will. I have had many parents spend hundreds of dolmysterieslars on books that they liked as a child expecting their kids to love it. Keep in mind that this isn’t always the case.
  2. Ask the teacher. It’s as simple as that. I’ve had parent teacher conferences that revolve around book
    suggestions. There is nothing wrong with sending your child’s teacher a quick email asking for ideas (these are the emails teachers get excited about).
  3. Reach out to an Usborne consultant. Usborne features over 1,800 books at all levels and topics. Consultants can help make book suggestions for pleasure, reference, and learning. If you’re interested in speaking
    to a consultant feel free to email me at littlereadingcoach@gmail.com, or if you would like to make a purchase visit my online page.

Below were my suggestions for the lady at the bank. Again, the page numbers correlate to the Fall 2016 catalog:

Four Year Old Girl (likes princesses)

  • Wipe Clean- Alphabet, Capital Letter, Lower-case Letter, Words (pg. 62). These are really cool mini workbooks to help practice basic writing skills that can be used over and over again. wipe-clean-lower-case-letters
  • Phonics Workbook 4 (pg. 64)
  • Fairy Tales and Princess Stories (pg. 65). These two books are known as dual readers, which mean there are two levels of text on each page. This is great for reading together and preparing children for more complex reading passages.
  • Phonics Books (pg. 66). Any of these books would be great to help with phonics.
  • Illustrated Stories Princes and Princesses (pg. 73). This is meant for older kids, but it would be a good one to read aloud.

Fifth Grade Boy

  • Mystical 9th Division Series (pg. 161). This is a sci-fi series (boys this age really like sci-fi) and it’s similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid with the format. Each chapter starts out with a comic and there are pictures to help with reading comprehension. mythical-9th-division-series
  • I Am Jack (pg. 164). This series has similar content to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. 

The page numbers are from the Fall 2016 catalog. Feel free to take a look at the suggestions. If you’re interested in purchasing from Usborne, check them out!

If you have any questions about Usborne or the ideas mentioned in this post, please feel free to email me at littlereadingcoach@gmail.com


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