Go get a different book.
That book is too hard for you.
You can't read that.
That book is not on your level.
You need an easier book.
I must (sadly) admit as a previous classroom teacher of 12 years, I probably uttered one or more of these phrases to any given student thinking that I was helping them make a better choice that would further their reading. But instead, what I probably did was make that child like reading a little less.
So instead of building the student into a better reader by making them choose a book "on their level", what I did, was tell them they were not good enough or able enough to read "that" book.
What could I have done instead?
*Maybe ask them to sit and read a page or two with me and see if they change their mind once they read a few pages.
*Have a "preview stack" of books ready for a child that continuously chooses challenging books and say "Take a look at these books I thought you might like!"
*Ask "Are you and your mom/dad/grandma going to read that together?"
*Check to see if there is an audio version of the book and let them download that to a device to read along.
And then the unthinkable... let them check it out anyway!
Maybe they have a desire to persevere and read through the book, Maybe they hide a "baby book" in the pages of the bigger book so no one knows what they are reading. Maybe they just want to be like the other kids. Maybe choosing a book in the library is the only choice they have control over that day.
Maybe I need to find a way to support them and help them like reading because as Donalyn said, "If not us, then who?"
What key phrases or techniques do you use to help a student choose books?