Finding Good Fit Books

Helping Primary Students with Book Browsing and Selection

"Putting the right book in the right kid’s hands is kind of like giving that kid superpowers. Because one book leads to the next book and the next book and the next book and that is how a world-view grows. That is how you nourish thought."

Cecil Castellucci


At the beginning of the school year in my former school, teachers were requested to do The First 20 Days from Guiding Readers and Writers, Grades 3-6, by Fountas & Pinnell or The Daily 5 by Boushey and Moser to organize their reading workshops. Both programs involve lessons and practise with choosing just right books to read. I believe the school librarian would be in a perfect position to help students by giving additional instructions and opportunities to find a just right book to borrow from the library and choose texts from the classroom library. My plan will outline a number of activities and tasks to teach primary children while visiting the school to find a just right book.

Activity One: Read Aloud Goldie and Three Libearians

I would begin with a read aloud of the book Goldie and the Three Libearians by Jackie Mims Hopkins. It is a cute book that primary children will enjoy. In the book Goldie enters the house of the three bears who happen to be librarians. While Goldie is looking through the book collection of the "libearians" she explains her strategies to find a just right book such as the 5-finger rule. Younger children need a lot of practise with this strategy so they will need more time during the lesson and future visits to the library to do this. I would also make time during their visit to reflect and share the books they have chosen with each other.

I found some additional resources that could be used to accompany the lesson.




Activity Two: Watch a Video How to Pick a Book that is Right for You

This video has students from primary and junior grades explaining a variety of strategies to choose a good fit book.

  • 5 finger rule
  • topics
  • genres
  • summaries
  • characters
  • authors
  • picture walk

Each of the strategies could be the topic for separate lessons in an entire unit about choosing good fit books in the library. I like the variety in ages of the presenters in the video as children love to see themselves represented and hearing from their peers rather than the teacher. The children speak clearly and do a good job explaining the strategies.

How to Pick a Book that is Right for You.m4v

Activity Three: Teach the I PICK Model

The I PICK model is from The Daily Five: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Primary Grades. This literacy workshop program provides an excellent structure to give uninterrupted time to teachers to work with students independently and with small groups while students are doing worthwhile tasks. The key to a successful launch of the program is to train and practise the components of the program everyday. Read to Self and Read to Someone require students to choose books which will allow for students to read at an independent level (read most words without help and learn some new words). One of the important elements of this is to choose good-fit books. It would be very helpful to classroom to have this taught again and promoted in the library.

I PICK Good-Fit Books

I select a book and look it over, inside and out.

Purpose: Why might I want to read it?

Interest: Does it interest me?

Comprehend: Do I understand what I am reading?

Know: Do I know most of the words?


A Library Literacy Plan by Aimee Ford