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Getting started with book choice

The following is a lesson that can help you begin a discussion with children about how readers choose books. This lesson helps students become aware of the importance of choosing the books that they read and helps them see that different book choices are appropriate for different people.Objectives:

  • To help students learn about book choice
  • To raise student awareness of the importance of book selection
  • To make students aware that book choices vary among different people


  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears book
  • Chart paper
  • Markers


  1. Since most students know the story already, explain that Goldilocks is going to help you all think about something new and have them pay attention to Goldilocks’ choices throughout the book.
  2. Read the book.
  3. Review the choices she made. For example, "Papa’s porridge was ____ _____. Mama’s porridge was ____ _____. But baby bear’s porridge was _____ _____." And do for all the choices.
  4. Explain that the students will have choices of books to read during reading workshop and Goldilocks’ way of choosing will help everyone think about book choices.
  5. Make three categories on the chart paper: Too easy, Too hard, Just right.
  6. Brainstorm with students the difference between these three and list them on the chart.
  7. Discuss reasons why people read books that are too easy (fun, enjoyable, practice fluent reading), just right (learn from the book, recommended by a friend) and too hard (need information from the text, book was recommended to them by friend, highly motivated to try to read the book).


  • This discussion can be continued throughout the year as students make book choices and can share their experiences with each other.

  • Share your own book choices with students and include books that are too easy, too hard, and just right for you.

  • Conferencing with students before, during and after they choose books provides teachers with an opportunity to work individually with students on book selection.

*Idea from Ohlhausen, M. M., & Jepsen, M. (1992). Lessons from Goldilocks: “Somebody’s been choosing my books but I can make my own choices now!” New Advocate, 5(1), 31-46.

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