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Choosing a “Just Right” Book for Your Reader


Education has always relied on the partnership between parents and educational professionals, and Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) invites you to partner with us in the development of your student’s literacy skills across all grade levels. Engaging with instructional materials to become familiar with your student’s progress and interest is critical, and there are many ways in which parents may interact with and share any concerns about those materials.


Asking your child questions about what they are reading and learning about in school is a great way to engage in your child's education. We encourage families to be engaged in their child's instructional materials and to reach out to their child's teacher whenever they have questions or concerns,” said LCPS Deputy Superintendent Ashley Ellis.


As early as kindergarten, students are taught to look for “just right” books. When a student brings home a book they do not like, they are encouraged to stop reading it and to select another one. Similarly, parents who encounter a book that is not a good fit for their child may send the book back to the school with a note indicating that it is not quite right for their child.

“I liken it to horror movies,” says Media Services Supervisor Elissa Moritz. “I don’t like them and am not comfortable watching them, so I don’t.” School library catalogs are available online. Parents can use these to help students select books they would like to read and even place holds on those books to check out from the library.


Another challenge can be students who are young but advanced readers. Those students may be capable of reading works intended for a higher grade level, but they may find that the subject matter in those books to be a bit mature for them. “I call these ‘a someday story,’”said Moritz. “They aren’t inappropriate books, but they aren’t right for the reader at this time.” Families can always work with teachers and media specialists to identify works that fit the student’s reading and maturity level.


When a student is assigned a common reading assignment related to the curriculum they are learning, for instance in an English or Language Arts class, rather than being asked to select an independent reading book, parents also have input. Parents may request alternate selections to curriculum-assigned texts. Moritz advises, “If my student’s class were assigned to read The Scarlet Letter, for example, and I was not comfortable with that subject matter, I could ask the teacher to substitute another book for my student that covered the same educational objectives as Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work.” 


Parents who have concerns about specific books may file a challenge in compliance with School Board Policy 5045 and its accompanying regulations at any time. “Challenges are different from handling the request one-on-one for their student. A challenge process could apply at the school or division level. “Filing a challenge in accordance with Policy 5045 could end up with a  decision that impacts all students, not just your own,” Moritz said. “I try to remember that something that is difficult to read may be something that a particular student needs to read.”

For quick tips from this article, download and print this “Choosing a “just right” book flyer.





Published December 9, 2021