It can be quite difficult for students to choose books that are instructionally appropriate for independent reading. Although the readability of any book largely depends on the interaction with the reader, there are some guidelines that students can be taught to make their own choices.

Here are some helpful questions students should ask themselves while identifying material to read independently in class or at home. If they can answer “yes” to most questions, then the book is likely a suitable choice.


  1. Am I interested in the topic of this book and have a reason to read it?
  2. Am I familiar with the topic and ideas of the book?
  3. Am I familiar with the genre type or the author’s kind of writing?
  4. After reading a full page of text, are there five or fewer words I don't know?
  5. Are most of the sentences short and easy for me to read?
  6. Are most of the ideas of the book clear and easy to understand?
  7. Is the figurative language and imagery used in the book (similes, metaphors, personification, etc.) concrete enough to clearly understand?
  8. Is the format of the book well designed and do the illustrations or visuals assist me in reading?
  9. As I read this book, do I mostly sound comfortable, relaxed, and fluent?