Just Right Books

A few posts ago I posted about how students in younger grades need a variety of different types of books to read and peruse, not just books on their levels.  The information came from the book Beyond Leveled Books.  I had a lot of comments about that post, and the book has plenty more to say about it.  I just scratched the surface.  Check out that blog post here:  Early Grades and Leveling Books.

Now for the "Just Right" books.  Today my son had two of his friends over to play.  I sent them outside for two reasons 1.  It was gorgeous today!  Not too hot, not too humid, just right and 2.  Ginny Beth needed a nap that was not too long like Sunday and not too short, like yesterday, but just right.  Get the picture?  When I went outside, here is who I happened upon.
The boys in their "just right" costumes
Zack and his friends LOVE to dress up as superheroes in his old Halloween costumes, and some others I have gotten on clearance or at yard sales.  Today they combined various costumes to make their "just right" costumes.  They sifted through the costumes and picked out what they needed to reach their desired look.  You can't see it, but Zack has on Buzz Lightyear wings under his Batman cape.  His friend has on a Transformers mask, Hulk costume, and pirate pants.

So, what is a just right book?  It is a book that is perfect for students to read.   Beginning with the third chapter of Beyond Leveled Books, the authors discuss the transitional reader.  This is where we really want students to immerse themselves in books they can read and enjoy reading.  There is a great deal of information on series books along with a super helpful chart that tells the characteristics of each and anything that makes it hard to understand.

Even at this point, we need to remind students that they do not always read books just because they are on their levels.  Sure, we don't want them to read something that is too hard for them, nor do we want them to read Go, Dog, Go when they can read Encyclopedia Brown.  We also don't want third graders reading The Giver  just because that is their reading level.  Students have to understand the content of the book.

 But, sometimes they read something for different reasons.  I still love to read "kids'" books.  Are they on my reading level?  No, they are too easy for me, but I can actually associate some of my own life with theirs.  Think about poetry for a moment......  Ok, poetry is also written on different levels sometimes, but we read it because we enjoy it.

The book is full of mini-lessons to help students in various aspects of the reading process.  One of them is about choosing a "just right" book.  It gives questions for students to consider things such as length of book, topic, hard words, mood, author, etc. (pg 87-88).

This reminds me of the "Good Fit Books" lesson from The Daily Five.  I know that many of you are reading it, and I read it this year in a book study at work.  Beginning on page 29, the lesson compares shoes and books and how we have to find a "good fit" for us to read.  Then it discusses the "I Pick" method for helping students find books they can read with 95% accuracy or better.  I Pick stands for

I = I choose a book

P = Purpose - why do I want to read it?

I = Interest - does it interest me?

C = Comprehend - am I understanding what I'm reading?

K = Know - I know most of the words.

One of my friends who is the Reading Coach at my son's school held a meeting for students and parents at the school describing I PICK.  She gave out wonderful bookmarks which put those statements into questions for the students.  I am going to make my own for the students to use this year.

She also used a really cute book to help the students understand good fit books.  
Goldie Socks and the Three Libearians
 We all know the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  This book is a twist on the story, focusing on how Goldi Socks found her "just right" books.  There are also some other good ones that the book discusses, such as Wolf! by Becky Bloom.  If you know of any others, post it below for all of us to check out.  I love new books and ideas!

I could go on and on about this book.  It is chock full of information!  To get a glimpse, go over to Franki Sibberson's blog A Year of Reading to find out more.  And, go out and get the book and read it!
Beyond Leveled Books, Second Edition 
You can get it for both the Nook and the Kindle!

Sorry for such a long post, but I had so much to say!   Also, sorry about the font switch ~ not sure what happened there!
Until next time!


  1. Your posts from this book (Beyond Leveled Books) have really caused me to reflect on what I have done during reader's workshop this past year. Thanks for helping me to reflect upon/research/rework a critical aspect of my first grade classroom! This will really help how I introduce Read to Self and assist students with choosing books this year, as we transition to using D5.

    1. It really made me think a lot about how I used to set up my classroom and reading. I am considering using this as a book study at my school. I think it would be helpful, especially for the upper grades. Good luck with your transition to Daily 5! I am hoping our school will work that in too soon.


  2. Thank you for telling me about this book.
    Where Seconds Count

    1. You are welcome. It is not a book that I would have picked up out of the blue to read either. It was recommended to me during a class I took, and it sure has made me think!


  3. I also find this interesting. Teaching Kinder, the kids come in mostly at an emergent level-so I struggle with what to stock the class library with. I may have to check out this book as well-thanks for sharing!



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