A Guide to Leveled Books for Parents and Guardians
Has your child come home and announced the he is on level J in reading and your first thought isWhat does that mean? Did you then begin to wonder if that is good or not? In school, we level books using the Guided Reading levels represented by letters A through Z. So if your child is a level J then he can read these books independently.
Of course, now that summer is coming your thoughts are turning to how to keep your child reading on the correct level. This becomes especially challenging when the public library and Barnes & Nobles dont level their books the same way the school does. What are you going to do?
Ultimately, the goal is to have your child read their just right books-these are books they do not need your help with to read. They can read with a high rate of accuracy (95% of the words are decoded easily) and comprehension.
Below is a chart that illustrates some of the systems used to level books.
Guided Reading Level
Reading Recovery Level
Beginning gr. 1
Middle Gr. 1
End grade 1
Middle gr. 2
End Gr. 2
Beginning gr. 3
Middle Grade 3
End Grade 3
Now you are ready to help your child find books to read. As I said earlier the books in the library or at the bookstore do not have a level printed on them. They may have something like RL 5 (grade 5) or Ages 10-14, but your child may be able to read it even if they arent 10 years old.
One trick we teach the students is the 5 Finger Rule. Here is what you do:
· Select a book that looks like you might enjoy reading it
· Pick any page-preferably from the middle
· Child reads the page aloud
· Every time the child stumbles on a word, hold up one finger
· If all 5 fingers go up, the book is considered too hard.
There are websites that can also be of use in this quest for finding leveled books. One that I think is particularly helpful is scholastic.com.
· Go to scholastic.com
· Click on the teacher tab
· On the drop down that appears click on Book Wizard
· Go to Leveled Search
· In the upper right click on Guided Reading; then hit set
· Click on the areas that describe your child and their interests
· Hit search-a list of books, with their level (if they are leveled) will appear
What is important to remember is that your child needs to read over the summer months. Research shows that reading just 8 books will help your child stay on track in terms of reading ability. However, if your child does not read, he or she can slide backwards by two years!