Guest Librarian FAQ: How Do I Determine Which Books Are Right For My Child?

by Ann Jacobus on January 30, 2014

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Earlier this week, I shared my reflections on helping parents determine whether a given book is appropriate for their child, based on both content and reading level. Here is a list of online resources I have found to be especially useful in assisting parents with questions regarding appropriateness:

  • CommonSense Media’s Book Reviews
    The reviews on this site are designed to inform parents about the content of books. The reviewers assign a particular age to each book, which represents when the book is most appropriate for kids to read.
  • StorySnoops
    This site features a group of parents who blog about kids’ books. It was “founded to […] help [parents] seek out books that may reflect the experiences, interests, strengths or weaknesses of their own children.”
  • Novelist K-8
    This subscription library database provides access to professional reviews of children’s books, as well as subject headings indicating what is covered in a given book.
  • Scholastic’s BookWizard
    This tool allows users to search for a given title, and it will provide the Grade Level Equivalent, Guided Reading level, DRA level, and Lexile measure for the book. Some more obscure titles might not be in the database, but it is not restricted to just Scholastic’s publications.
  • Lexile.com
    Search for a given book’s Lexile number and create reading lists.
  • Local schools’ websites
    Many school librarians and classroom teachers provide leveled reading lists for students and parents to access online. These are not always readily available, but many times they are right there for the taking and the parent just hasn’t been made aware of them. It helps to bookmark pages for quick and easy access whenever a question comes up.

And of course, READERKIDZ!

Guest Librarian Katie Fitzgerald holds degrees in English and library science, and has seven years of experience in public libraries. She blogs about books at  Secrets & Sharing Soda and about library service to children at Story Time Secrets. Katie lives in Rockville, MD with her librarian husband and their new baby.

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