5 Finger Test

How to choose a childrens book of the right reading level

The 5 Finger Test is a great way to select appropriate books for your child to read. The test provides you and your child a quick and easy way to gauge the difficulty of a book. It is quick test you can use in the library or book store before you make a selection.

How to select books using the 5 Finger Test

Here are the steps that you and your child can use to select a book:

  1. Open the book to any typical page that you or your child wish to read. Have your child begin reading.
  2. As your child reads, count the number of words your child doesn’’t know or has difficulty reading with your fingers.
  3. Now use the number of fingers to help you decide if this is a good book for your child to read by themselves.
No fingers0 Fingers
This book is easy for your child to read.


One Finger1 Finger
This book is easy to read but will have some new words to learn.


Two Fingers2 Fingers
Perfect choice – this book is just right for your child.


Three Fingers3 Fingers
A little hard but could be fun for your child to try. You will need to help your child when they read this book.


Four Fingers4 Fingers
Difficult to read. An adult will need to read this book with your child.


Five Fingers5 or more Fingers
This book is probably too hard for your child to read. This book will need to be read with an adult.

5 Finger Test Chart


It is wonderful to see your child reading every word of a book. However, you should still continue to challenge your child with books that they aren’’t able to ‘breeze’ through.

Generally, if your child struggles with 5 -6 words on one page, it is probably best to leave that book for a later date. If they are constantly getting ‘stuck’ on unfamiliar or difficult words, they may get discouraged and lose interest altogether.

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