It’s often told to parents that a “Five Finger Rule” can help you choose whether a book is at the right reading level for a student. The rule states that if a student misses five or more words, it may be too hard, no words and it might be too easy, and three words and it’s ‘just right’. The problem for dyslexic students is that the “Five Finger Rule” may prevent them accessing print information at their intellectual level and if reading aloud is the guide for the rule, then it’s possible they may never be granted access to higher level books even if they are university professors!
In fact, pioneering work by Rosalie Fink (see research paper below for Premium members), showed that accomplished adult dyslexics from many different areas often attributed interest-based above-level reading with catalyzing their interest in a particular career or field.
“You read science for..how things are put together…My interest in chemistry..started with my interest in airplanes in grade school..that quickly converted to propellant systems in seventh and eight grades.” – Ronald Davis Stanford Biochemistry Professor
“I’ve always been attracted to books and anything that has to do with history, decorative arts, architecture…So I took to reading, which was a problem, and turned it around because it was the only way that I could explore what I was interested in…” – H Girard Ebert, interior designer
From Dr. Fink: “Reading was extremely difficult and laborious for these men and women. So why did they read avidly? And how did they do it? With few exceptions, literacy development was spurred by a strong desire to know more about a content area of passionate personal interest. Consequently, they read every book and magazine they could find in order to satisfy their curiosity about a particular subject.” More often for the dyslexic reader, the question should be not what is the right reading level for my child, but how can I get this child really hooked on a book! Read more making hard books accessible to dyslexic readers for PREMIUM Subscribers below.