Teaching Students How to Choose Books
How do you select a book? Chances are, you are first attracted to a book by its title and/or the cover illustration. You might then read the blurb and read brief excerpts from the book, or, if it is an informational book, you might glance through the table of contents. If the content is unfamiliar, you might also check to see that the book is on the appropriate level of difficulty. For instance, if you want a book on the Internet and have very little knowledge on the subject, a highly detailed or technical treatment may be too complex. To check the difficulty level, you might read a few sample passages. If you encounter a number of terms or concepts that you don't understand, you might seek an easier book.
As a sophisticated reader, you are skilled at selecting books that are of interest to you and on the appropriate level of difficulty. To help students learn to select appropriate books, model the process. Show how you determine whether the book is of interest to you. Then show how you determine whether the book is on the right level of difficulty. Discuss with students guidelines for selecting books. Possible guidelines are listed below.
• Does the book look interesting?
• Is the book about as hard as other books I have read?
• Can I read most of the words?
• Can I understand what the book is saying?
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