Students learning how to pick ‘just-right’ books as part of Literacy by 3

HISD students learn the ‘five finger rule’ to ensure their selections aren’t too hard or too easy

HISD’s Literacy By 3 movement is now well underway, and teachers across the district are using fun and innovative methods to share critical concepts with students, such as the importance of choosing a “just-right” book to avoid frustration or lack of growth.

At Sánchez Elementary School, campus faculty and staff held a “just-right book” parade for first- and second-graders in which students used the “five-finger rule” to choose an appropriate title, then marched down the hall to the cafeteria with their selections. There, they watched a video containing more tips on how to pick a “just-right” book and learned the value of reading for 30 minutes every day.

“The students have to decide which book is just right for them,” explained Sánchez ES Dean of Instruction Renée Ricca. “They open the book anywhere, and if they can read the entire page with only two or three missed words, then it is a ‘just-right’ book. If they can read every word on the page, then that book is too easy, and if they cannot read four to five words per page, then the book is too hard.”

Having a “just-right” book to read is critical to ensuring students’ success. Books that don’t challenge children enough will not help them build their literacy skills, but books that are too hard may frustrate them so much that they may start to shy away from reading or give up on it altogether.

“Everything in Literacy By 3 is based on each student having a just-right book,” noted HISD Literacy Director Cindy Puryear.

[photoshelter-gallery g_id=”G0000pO342jWiM0M” g_name=”2014119-SanchezES” width=”600″ f_fullscreen=”t” bgtrans=”t” pho_credit=”iptc” twoup=”f” f_bbar=”t” f_bbarbig=”f” fsvis=”f” f_show_caption=”t” crop=”f” f_enable_embed_btn=”t” f_htmllinks=”t” f_l=”t” f_send_to_friend_btn=”f” f_show_slidenum=”t” f_topbar=”f” f_show_watermark=”t” img_title=”casc” linkdest=”c” trans=”xfade” target=”_self” tbs=”5000″ f_link=”t” f_smooth=”f” f_mtrx=”t” f_ap=”t” f_up=”f” height=”400″ btype=”old” bcolor=”#CCCCCC” ]

TEACHERS/PRINCIPALS: What are your schools doing to promote Literacy By 3? Send your stories to or share your photos on Twitter using the hash tag #Literacyby3 and we’ll retweet them!