As a parent it can be tough to find books that are age appropriate and at the right level for your child to read by them selves – especially if your child is either above or below average for their age.
As adults we read books once and then are pretty much done with them and I for one, assumed that this was the same with children’s readers too. It was only when I worked in an elementary school here in Vancouver that I learned that there was a different way. Children there were encouraged to pick three books which they kept for a couple of weeks – yes that’s right, the same three books for two weeks! Now you or I might think that sounds pretty tedious, but what happened was pretty interesting. For the first few read throughs the children would be learning new words and generally focusing on the technicalities of the books. Once they got over that they were able to enjoy the sensation of reading and getting lost in a story. We all know how much kids like to hear familiar stories over and over again, this was the same philosophy but with the added benefit of the child having the satisfaction of knowing that they read it all by them selves.
Looking at this technique from a couple of perspectives I think it is a great idea – firstly, the child is reading less books so you can really focus on finding good books that really are age appropriate and secondly it may really be the difference between teaching children to read and teaching children to read for pleasure.
Yet again the slow and steady learning wins the day.