I PICK Good Fit Books

by Matt

Independent students learn how to pick good fit books as part of the Daily Five balanced literacy system.

During the 2008-2009 school year I began using The Sisters’ (Gail Boushey and Joan Moser) process of teaching balanced literacy to my fourth grade student: The Daily Five Reading and The Literacy CAFE.

Good Fit Books

One significant theme mentioned throughout Daily Five Reading and Literacy CAFE is teaching students to pick “good fit” books. An important part of becoming a successful independent reader is being able to choose “good fit” books. At the beginning of each year I start an all-year-long conversation with students about how to choose appropriate books. The anchor chart (pictured above and listed below) contains:

I PICK Good Fit Books
I choose a book
Purpose – Why do I want to read it?
Interest – Does it interest me?
Comprehend – Am I understanding what I read?
Know – Do I know most of the words?

In the “official” Daily Five Reading materials the Know states I know most of the words. I changed this to be more aligned with the other three questions. Although it doesn’t change the meaning at all, I prefer the question Do I know most of the words?. I see the I PICK method of choosing good fit books as a series of questions good readers ask themselves whenever and where ever they choose books to read.

Why Good Fit Books?

To me, taking time to teach students how to choose good fit books is well worth my time because it helps build confidence and independence.

When I observe a student in my classroom who is not interested or engaged during Read to Self time, a lot of times (but not all the time) it is because the student is attempting to read a book way beyond what he or she is capable of. I frequently tell my students that reading is making meaning and reading is thinking. Not understanding most of the words on any given page makes discovering meaning and thinking about the text extremely difficult and reading almost impossible to enjoy.

A student immersed in his good fit book.

A student immersed in his good fit book.

My reading conferences at the beginning of the year consist largely of looking over each students book box and having a conversation about choosing good fit books. Some students pick up the idea right away. Other students need a lot of support and coaching throughout the year, but over time they begin to get better and better at choosing appropriate books for themselves.

As a teacher I get a lot of data about a students reading level. Sometimes this information is relevant and helpful, sometimes it is not. As part of my conversations I am always willing to share this data with students. But to me, simply giving a student a lexile score or DRA level is not enough to build lifelong, independent readers. I much prefer the I PICK method because, through repeated practice, it encourages thoughtful and reflective book selection.

Want to Know More?

Interested in learning more about Daily Five Reading or CAFE Literacy? Read related articles about Daily Five Reading and CAFE Literacy:

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