The Daily Cafe

Refusal to choose good fit books


We are having a problem with our students choosing good fit books. Majority of students can tell how to choose a good fit books and our teachers are teaching Ipick at least once a week. What do you do when students refuse to pick good fit books? We have read multiple articles and watched videos on the Cafe website. But would also like suggestions from other practitioners using Daily5/Cafe. Thank you!!!


I teach third grade, but used to teach middle school. Even by first or second grade, students have internalized the message that it is better to appear to be skilled than to let people know your real reading level. With older kids, it gets harder and harder to convince them otherwise. But, it is possible!

I know that some teachers will let students continue to pick books that are not good fit as long as the student wants, so the students can really see what happens when a book does not meet their needs. I disagree with this approach after the first couple of week for a simple reason: Some of my students have never read a book in their actual “good fit” range so do not understand what it means to “know most of the words” or “understand” the book!

So for those students I think about their interests and curate a selection of books for them to choose from – books that they are likely to be successful using, so that the idea of “good fit” finally makes sense. Once I have done this, and they experience success with accuracy, fluency, and comprehension, THEN I let them try with an unlimited selection again. Usually it only takes a couple tries at curation before the children consistently find books at a level that meets their needs.

Hope this helps.


Children misbehave when they have a need that isn’t being met. …I would like to know more, but from what you wrote I would make that poor Vs good choice a teaching point for an individual conference. This conference would hopefully reveal the thinking behind this behavior. Then, for a specific time period, I would offer a teacher controlled variety of good fit books for the student to choose from. Finally, I would wait until the student was “ready” to choose books independently. Perhaps one of eight of the books in the book box could be of “high interest” but “not ready for him/her yet” as a way to compromise.


Kathleen–What great advise!! And, you are so right–if kids have never read a good fit book, it’s hard fro them to know how to make selections. The “five finger” rule that some folks use doesn’t work so well for many kids.


More good advise, Janabflitz :slight_smile:

Just like we have to do with good parenting, good teaching demands that we offer good choices–but maybe guided for a bit of time so they can learn the process and idea of “good fit books”.

As a reading specialist, I work with kids from 1st through 5th grades. I do have those kiddos from the upper grades that like to carry around books like Harry Potter. I tell them those are good arm exercise books :wink:, but that we have to find other books for brain exercise.

I do think, like the other ladies have said, that once they have that experience of reading a book that’s “just right”, they experience how fun reading can be.