Reading Levels

Reading Levels

Reading Levels

Date posted: February 28, 2018

Reading level is one of the first factors that tutors and other practitioners consider when choosing reading materials to use with their students. Two articles on reading levels in School Library Journal make for interesting reading during Freedom to Read Week:

Thinking Outside the Bin: Why labeling books by reading level disempowers young readers

Fountas and Pinnell Say Librarians Should Guide Readers by Interest, Not Level

The reading level of a book only tells you what the book brings to the reading experience. Usually it’s based on how long the words are, how long the sentences are and how many words and sentences there are in a piece of text. It doesn’t tell you if the material is unfamiliar to the reader or if they have any prior knowledge of the topic. It doesn’t tell you if a book would be interesting to a reader, if they would choose to read it. Once you know your student, it’s a lot easier to choose a book that they might enjoy.

Teaching students how to find books that are interesting to them takes time and direct teaching.For ideas on helping student learn to find books, read 5 Tips for Helping a Student Find the Right Book.

Did you know you can borrow a mini-library of books from the Decoda Library? Some literacy practitioners do this to provide their students with a selection of reading material to choose from. If you’d like to try it out, email .

(If anyone has found a good comparison chart between different measures of reading levels, we’d like to hear about it!)

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