Home > Enrichment > How to find summer reading that fits your child’s age and ability

How to find summer reading that fits your child’s age and ability

Many gifted kids are advanced readers, presenting parents with a tough challenge: finding books that are challenging enough for our kids’ ability, yet still age appropriate. I mean, your 9-year-old daughter may read on a 7th grade level, but that doesn’t mean you want her reading a Twilight novel.

Thankfully, there’s a tool that can help you search thousands of books to find a good fit: the Accelerated Reader BookFinder. Accelerated Reader — often known simply as “AR” — is a reading program used in some schools. But even if your child’s school doesn’t participate in the AR program, you can still use the BookFinder tool.

Just follow the link above to go into the BookFinder’s Advanced Search mode. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Leave the top section (Author, Title, ISBN, etc.) blank.
  2. For “Interest Level,” select your child’s grade level group.
  3. ATOS Book Level refers to your child’s reading level. The ATOS system expresses the level in a X.Y format, where X is the grade and Y is the month in school. So a child whose ATOS level is 4.3 is reading at a level where the average 4th grader would be 3 months into the school year. The BookFinder asks for a range, so if for example your child reads on a 5th grade level, you could enter 5.3 in the left-hand box and 6.3 in the right-hand box (always good to have them read up a bit to build their skills.)
  4. Under additional criteria, you can select a specific genre that your child likes, or simply choose fiction or non-fiction. You can skip this step, but you will get more results than you can manage.
  5. If you want, choose to sort the results by title, author or rating.
  6. When you’ve entered all the variables you want, click on Go.

When the search engine returns a list of books that meet your criteria, you can click on any book in the list to get more information about it, including the word count. (A tip: If you look at the number labeled as “AR Pts” in the description, you can get some idea of how long the book is. Books worth 0.5 points are usually picture books. Books worth 1 point may be chapter books. Books worth 2 points or more are short novels, and so on.)

Happy reading!

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Categories: Enrichment
  1. Julie
    June 9, 2011 at 10:05 am

    I have a book entitled “Some of My Best Friends are Books” and it has great suggestions for our kids. They have lists sort by age and common issues they face. For example, for the child who feels like an outsider, the author suggests “A Wrinkle in Time”.

    • June 9, 2011 at 11:53 am

      I just ordered that guide from Amazon. Can’t wait to look through it!

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