This is the question that we get asked most often. What level is my child reading on and what does this mean?
This can be a complicated question to answer because we, as teachers, use reading level to measure a child’s progress and we choose those levels based on assessments and observations about what each child is ready for. It’s not just about hard words vs. easy words. It’s about language and the way those words are arranged, topic (familiar or not?), picture support, and even organization. Choosing a “just right” book is about knowing your students well enough to balance challenge with success to promote reading growth.
With that being said, it is helpful to know a child’s “level” when choosing books for at-home reading. There are many different leveling systems,but we use the Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading system which levels books according to the alphabet. Level A is the easiest and it progresses from there. Typically, these are the levels students should be reading:
- Level B at the end of Kindergarten (although we prefer higher and there are studies to suggest we should aim for higher)
- Level I at the end of Grade 1 (a big jump from Level A!)
- Level M at the end of Grade 2
- Level P at the end of Grade 3
Pioneer Valley Books has a great parent page and a chart to show the progression of levels throughout grades K-3. Along with this chart, you can click on a specific level to learn the qualities of each. This is a trusted site and highly recommended if you want to know more about the characteristics of leveled text.