Book Series: Reading Levels

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My smart and talented sister Mitzi has taught elementary school for years. Below, she gives us some tips on finding the right reading level for our children, as well as a great resource for book levels.

By Mitzi
Without leaving home, reading can take your child many places: a dusty old attic, a magical foreign castle, a tree house in the jungle, a cave in the deepest part of the ocean, and other locations that only the mind can travel.  Once your child is ready to discover these places for themselves, it seems to be a daunting to task find books for him or her that are just right.  If a child tries to read a book that is too easy, he or she might get bored or they may end up memorizing some of the pages and not really reading it.  If a child tries to read a book that is too difficult, frustration will probably set in.  So, how do we avoid this?  Glad you asked :)

Many of us that are parents to young children may remember a program in our schools called Accelerated Reader.  It is a motivational program designed to drive students to not only read a lot but comprehend the book, as well.  Guess what?  AR is still around and it is still a great resource for students!  At school, students can find books on their level, read it, take a quiz on it and reap the benefits of being an accelerated reader.  What if your child is home-schooled or you want to supplement what he or she is learning at school?  

Have no fear! AR can be helpful at home, too.  is where you need to go to find books on specific reading levels.  This is where, as a teacher, I would send my students.  Here's how to find what you're looking for:

Click on the Advanced Search tab on the top of the page.
On this page you can search by Title, Author, ISBN, etc.
But if you'd like to search by reading level, go down to where it says Interest Level.
Find the Interest Level that closely resembles your child's grade level.
You must choose an Interest Level before you choose a book level.
The next boxes are for you to choose a range of book levels.

Book Levels correlate to grade levels and months in school.  For instance, book level 4.5 means 4th grade in the 5th month of school.  Here are some examples of ways to search for each grade level*:

Kindergarten: 0.1 to 0.9
1st Grade: 1.0 to 1.9
2nd Grade: 2.0 to 2.9
3rd Grade: 3.0 to 3.9 . . . and so on.

You can also continue to narrow search by choosing Topics and Subtopics, even Fiction or Nonfiction or both.  Use the sort drop down menu to sort your search.  I would highly recommend using these because the Kindergarten search alone came up with over 1,000 books!  

Your search results should come up with pages and pages of books that (most) include a picture, title, author and quick synopsis of the book.  Find these at your local library and enjoy!

*From an educator's perspective, please don't limit your child to his or her grade level.  If he or she wants to try a book on a higher grade level, encourage it!  On that same note, if your child is getting frustrated on the books in his grade level, don't be disappointed about him trying some books on the grade below.  Your child may find some engaging books that allow him to flourish.  Praise all interest in reading, no matter what level!

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  1. Awesome! I have been waiting for this post. I am excited to use this to help teach my kids to read!

  2. So glad you could use the information Jeni! If you need any more help, just let me know -


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