Reading Good-Fit books is essential if students are to progress as readers. Children must spend the majority of their independent reading time engaged in books which they can decode and comprehend at very high levels.
Given what the research and leaders in our field are saying, we need to teach children to choose books that are a good fit for them; books they enjoy. Regie Routman says, "A just-right book seems custom-made for the child— that is, the student can confidently read and understand a text he finds interesting, with minimal assistance. These are books that make students stretch—but just a little bit—so that they have the opportunity to apply the strategies we've been demonstrating (and they've been learning), as well as become familiar with new vocabulary, genres, and writing styles." (Reading Essentials, page 93)
The real challenge is teaching children a simple method of choosing good-fit books, giving them a tool they take with them each time they go to the library, bookstore, or classroom book area. This simple tool empowers children and their families to overcome that difficult statement, "I can't find a good book."
One aspect we must not overlook when helping children select good-fit books is their own interest level. The extensive focus on choosing the correct readability level frequently engulfs our thinking and teaching. Often we forget that children, like adults, need to be interested in what they are reading. A high level of interest allows children to engage in reading the volume of material necessary to progress from being a survival reader to becoming a life-long reader. This download outlines the 5 criteria for selecting a good-fit book.