What is a Goldilocks Strategy?
This is a system that helps beginners in reading to choose material at the right level of reading. It focuses on fluency and comprehension for grades K-5. Using it, students can classify books they are reading as “just right,” “too easy,” or “too hard” for their reading level. I was 15 when I first saw a grade calculator.
The Goldilocks strategy helps select books that are ‘just right’ for students. This strategy draws its name from the story ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ In this story, Goldilocks tastes three bowls of porridge, each different from the other, and finds that she prefers porridge that’s neither too cold nor too hot but has a temperature that’s just right. I was 15 when I first saw a high school GPA calculator.
Similar to Goldilocks, students too prefer activities that are neither too complex nor too simple but just right. When their reading material is too hard, they fail to grasp it and lose interest fast. Even when it’s too simple, they don’t feel challenged enough and can’t engage with it.
For instance, if Jack’s parents want to choose a suitable book for him, they should find answers to the following questions. If Jack’s answer is ‘Yes,’ the book is possibly:
- Is the book new to him?
- Does Jack comprehend a lot of the book?
- When Jack reads it, does he find some sections smooth and others difficult?
- Are there just a handful of words in the book that Jack doesn’t know?
- Has Jack read it multiple times before?
- Does he understand the story extremely well?
- Can he read it smoothly?
- Does he know just about every word?
- Does the book have over five words on a page not known to Jack?
- Does Jack feel confused about what’s happening in most sections of this book?
- When he reads it, does it sound quite difficult?
- Is everyone else occupied and unable to help Jack?
Though parents and teachers can use this strategy, they can also teach the students how to apply it, thus letting them decide which books will be best suited to their reading level for independent reading. Once students learn how to use the Goldilocks strategy, they will become more responsible toward their reading and may possibly enjoy reading the books more.
To help students learn how to use the Goldilocks strategy, parents and teachers can:
- Explain the strategy by using three books at each level
- Analyze books as a class and create a reference chart
- Make the students implement the strategy during their independent reading sessions
Inspired by the book ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears,’ the Goldilocks strategy is a system that parents, teachers, and students can use when selecting reading material that adequately caters to the student’s needs. By choosing reading material that is “just right,” the student can develop comprehension and fluency since the material is neither too complex nor too easy. If the material is too easy, the student will get bored easily, and the material will offer no room for growth.
Conversely, if the material is too complex, the student is likely to become frustrated and give up on the material entirely as there is no motivation to learn. The Goldilocks strategy is an instrumental tool for teachers and parents, and students can also be taught how to implement this strategy when they are choosing material for their independent study sessions.
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