Choosing what to read

It doesn’t always matter what you read together – it’s all about inspiring your child to be confident and comfortable reading, so they learn to love it too.

How do I choose books at the right level for my child?

Quote from Michaela Morgan

As a rule of thumb, your child should be able to read a book with about 95% accuracy if they want to read it to themselves. Less than that, and they're probably missing or misreading too many words to make sense of the story.

Quote from Tony Bradman

Introduce the 'rule of five' to older children. Ask them to read the first page or two of a new book and raise a finger for every word they can’t read. If they get to five fingers, that book’s too hard for them and they should choose another one. Don’t encourage them to guess words if they can’t read them.

Author’s picks

We asked top children’s writers what they like to read to their own families, and a few old favourites cropped up:

We enjoyed the Dogger and Alfie series by Shirley Hughes, the wonderful illustrations of John Burningham or classic picture books from Janet and Allan Ahlberg such as Each Peach Pear Plum. As my kids got older I particularly liked reading rhythmic, rhyming texts and two of my favourites were Mr Magnolia by Quentin Blake, and In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak – great to read aloud!

Tony Bradman, author of Dilly the Dinosaur 

I read lots of Julia Donaldson's and Axel Scheffler's books: The Smartest Giant in Town, Tiddler, Tabby McTat – great to join in with and something in every spread for inquisitive eyes to spot.

Christopher Edge, author of the Dead Ways series

Choosing what to read