Careers & Education

Leveled reading books

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Help develop your child's reading skills at his own pace

Remember when your child uttered his first sounds and words at an early age. You would read to him, praise him and show your delight at each new word he would master. With each encouraging word from you, they would tackle another word and then another until they eventually put two to three words together to form their first simple sentence. You would never expect your child to speak a whole sentence from the minute they opened their mouth. That would lead to complete frustration on your child's part because it is a step-by-step learning process.

Since children learn to speak at different rates, why should anyone expect them to learn to read at the exact same rate? With leveled reading books, a teacher or parent can evaluate a child's skill level to match books that are appropriate to that skill level. The goal is to make the books challenging enough to encourage progress, but not so difficult that the child becomes frustrated and gives up on the idea of mastering reading skills. Once a child has mastered their current level, they will then be moved up to the next level of reading.  In a sense, leveled reading books eliminate the idea that "one book" will satisfy all young readers in the classroom setting. 

Evaluating a child's reading level 
So what are some of the things a parent or teacher looks for when evaluating a child or student? When a child reads for them, a parent or teacher should be able to answer these basic questions:
  • accuracy in pronunciation - can the child easily and fluently pronounce each word as he reads? Does he or she stumble over just a few words or are they struggling with several words?  
  • word comprehension - even if the student can sound out words, do they understand their meanings? Are they so busy trying to pronounce bigger words that they are missing most of the storyline?
  • storyline comprehension  - In other words, can they explain in their own words who the main characters are and what the story plot is basically about. A child should be able to retell the story to the parent or teacher. For example, if they were to read, The Three Little Pigs, he or she should know that there are 3 pigs, 3 separate houses of different construction, and a wolf who is huffing and puffing down houses.

Reading Level criteria
Here are a few tips on what you will look for in the various stages of leveled reading books for beginning to fluent readers. There are several levels to progress through, but we are just touching on a few here.

  • Beginning reader books will focus on picture support, repetitive words (anyone remember the classic Dick and Jane reader books - See Jane run. Run Jane, run), shorter sentence structure, larger print, limited text on each page. This is typically the category where kindergarten and 1st graders will start.
  • Emerging reader books will include more text per page, rely less on pictures, less repetitive words, and have a slightly more complex sentence structure.
  • Fluent reader books will have varied topics to appeal to more students and children, little or no pictures to support the text, a richer vocabulary, more descriptive story details and a more challenging vocabulary.

    Leveled reading books are not just for students in the early grades. They are tailored for pre-kindergarten through high school years to make the reading experience the best it can be for all students. Reading is a basic fundamental that needs to be acquired and enjoyed at any age. 

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