Looking for a leveled book list you can take to the library? Keep reading!
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Today’s post is for the parents who want to support their child’s beginning reading efforts at home – but they visit the library and don’t know where to begin.
Let’s talk easy reader book series.
- My First I Can Read
- Step Into Reading
- Hello Reader
- Ready to Read
- I can Read
And that’s just the beginning! The maddening thing is that each collection of books – and even books within the same series – are wildly different when it comes to reading level.
What’s a parent to do?
The first thing to do is understand guided reading levels. These are the levels that many teachers use when they teach small reading groups.
Level A books are hard to find at the library, because they’re very, very simple. In fact, teachers usually have to order these books from special publishing companies. But if you hunt, you can find a small collection at your library, such as the books listed above.
Level A books typically have predictable language patterns, high frequency words that are used over and over, and a single line of text per page.
Level B books are very similar to A books, but they may have two lines of text on a page. There is a direct correspondence between the text and the pictures; the print is clear and easy to read. Like level A, level B books are in short supply unless you special order them.
Level C books are longer than level B books, but they still have only a few lines of text per page. The pictures are still very important in supporting meaning. Some level C books use pattern and repetition.
As you move into level D, you will notice that the stories are slightly more complex. The illustrations support the text, but children will need to pay more attention to the print. Words often contain more inflectional endings, such as ing, ed, and s.
As we move to higher levels, the amount of text gradually increases. Level E books have 3-8 lines of text per page. Stories are more complex, and repeating patterns are less frequent. While the illustrations are helpful, students will need to do more problem solving to figure out new words.
Since level F texts are slightly longer than level E, the print is smaller. Text carries more of the meaning, and children need to use sight word knowledge as they read. Unlike lower level books, level F books have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
These books contain more challenging ideas and vocabulary, and the sentences are longer than lower level books. Level G books introduce children to new vocabulary.
Level H books are very similar to level G, but the vocabulary and language continue to get more complex. There is less repetition as the books continue to sound more like stories.
Level I books have a more complex story structure. Illustrations provide low support, and there are more sentences on each page.
I have found level J to be a magical level. Many, many wonderful books are written for children at level J. Even better – many come in a series. At this point your child is starting to read fluently and maybe even read in his head. Level J books often have short chapters, include dialogue, and have a clear font with space between the lines.
Level K books are simple, but slightly longer than level J books. Chapters are short. The books include illustrations on most pages, but they are not essential to understanding the text. Layout is still reader-friendly; level K books have a large, clear font with clear spaces between the lines.
As stated many times in the above post, I no longer recommend the early levels (about levels A-G) for early readers because kids really need to sound out words as they learn to read.
It’s all about helping them permanently store the words in their sight vocabulary. Research tells us that this happens when kids match the sounds to the letters (fancy words: phonemes to the graphemes), and it’s hard for them to do this when they’re not looking at the words at all, but rather looking at pictures to solve words.
I know that many teachers still use the early levels with young readers (I certainly did until diving deep into the research led me to reconsider).
But if you are teaching brand new readers, let me encourage you to use decodable text instead. Search “decodable” in the site’s search bar. In the future I’ll be adding free decodable texts to this website.