Picking Texts to Read
Usually students will have reading to do for homework – they may be asked to read a novel or to read from a textbook and complete an assigned task. You can use any type of text to tutor from; however, if you get a chance to read for enjoyment (after the homework is done), pick a good book (one that your student picks) that is not too difficult and enjoy reading for pleasure. Together with the student, you can choose reading material that interests the student and is at an appropriate reading level. If the student is to read the material alone, then the text should be at his/her independent reading level. If the material is to be read together with a more capable reader, then the material can be at the student’s instructional reading level. One method for choosing a book is the five finger method.
- Whenever possible, pick books that are interesting to the learner
- For tutoring, pick books are that at their Instructional Level (not too easy, not too hard)
- For independent (personal) reading, pick books at the Independent Level.
Use a variety of texts. Students will have textbooks and assignments you can work with but also use what you know about the learner to find books that are fun and interesting. Also, a text does not have to be a book. Consider the following: Magazines, Graphic Novels, appropriate Internet sites, Newspaper Articles, Young Adult Literature, Non-fiction or Informational books.
Resources for Picking Books
There are many websites that feature lists of books and tools for matching books to readers. We share a few of these sites here.
- Lexile.com is a site that helps tutors and others match books and readers. If you know a learner's Lexile range (it usually comes from the school), you can look up books or find books using Lexile's Find a Book tool. Lexiles aren't a perfect measure for pairing books with readers but can be very helpful.
- The American Library Association's Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has a comprehensive set of book lists including book award winners and useful lists of books. These lists feature popular books for teens and a list for reluctant readers.