Reading is a very personal thing... It evokes different feelings in different people. Getting the right book into the beginning readers hands has two important considerations - In my opinion the first one is to provide them with books they WANT to read. The second very important and often the most difficult part - is getting the appropriate level book into their hands.We would probably not give a preschooler a unicycle to learn to ride a bike- that is unless their parents work for Barnum & Bailey... It is that absurd to give an emerging reader a book they want to read but is too difficult for them. Not that owning these "Want to read but can't yet" books is unwise. I have seen many, many children push themselves to read books that were too hard for them but their desire was soo strong they struggle through it. What I am saying is that in order to read they need to practice reading books they can actually read. These can be a little more difficult when they have a fluent readers support but need to be "at their independent level" when they are practicing alone. (They need to practice alone!)
Here's how you find out their independent level. First (easiest) ask their teacher. Second, if the first doesn't work out for you, (you need a calculator for this) pick out a book that you want to test. Count 100 words (50 with shorter text), then have them read to you. Make a check for every mistake. Subtract the mistakes from the total words then divide that into the total words then you will have the % of their reading that particular book. Here's what that % means:
98%-100% - Independent Level - they can have that book, you can walk away, they can read it for great practice without support.
93%-97%- Instructional Level - Sit with them - listen to them- support them as needed.
Below 93% - Frustration Level - As indicated in the name - Too frustrating to read themselves - read to them until they are ready...
Here's a GREAT site through Scholastic Book Clubs to find tons of books at your childs appropriate level.
Let me know if you have any questions about this and I will be happy to help out!