This post will give you a simple overview of the guided reading levels from A-P.
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Welcome to post number 2 in our series, How to Teach Kids to Read Using Guided Reading.
As a teacher of guided reading, it’s important that you have a consistent system for leveling your books. That’s because one essential of guided reading is leveled texts.
You need a system for analyzing texts and organizing them for teaching your small groups.
My favorite leveling system is the Fountas & Pinnell text level gradient – also called the guided reading levels. Let’s look at how these levels correspond to different grade levels in K-3.
Of course, kids will read at different levels. My oldest three kids all started school reading at level J or higher, while my fourth child started kindergarten at level B.
You’ll also find that you’ll have older readers who are reading at a lower level. It’s not unusual to have a second grader start the year at a level G, for example.
What’s the answer? A guided reading library of leveled books.
In the next post in this series, I’ll tell you where to find those books. For now?
Let’s take a look at examples of each level.
Level A Books
I Can RunBig CatI HugI See a Cat
- Have just one line of text per page
- Use predictable language patterns
- Have many simple sight words
- Use a large, clear font
- May be just 8 pages long
Level B Books
UpI See and SeePig Has a PlanHave You Seen My Cat?
- Are very much like level A
- Have up to 2 lines of text per page
Level C Books
Pie for ChuckLittle Ducks GoThe Fly Flew InBad Dog
- Are similar to levels A & B
- May be longer, with 2-5 lines of text per page
- Include mostly 1-2 syllable words
- Have many easy decodable words
Level D Books
Car Goes FarEd and KipFix This MessSick Day
- Are similar to level C
- Have slightly more complex stories
- May have sentences with 6+ words
Level E Books
Pete Won’t EatA Night at the ZooThe End of the RainbowGrace
- Have 2-8 lines of text per page
- Have more complex stories
- Have fewer repeating patterns
- May have sentences that carry over more than one line
- May have more pages than previous levels
Level F Books
Biscuit seriesJust Like Daddy“What is That?” Said the CatA Hippo in Our Yard
- Are similar to level E
- Sentences may have 10+ words
- May have a slightly smaller font
- Stories start to have a clear beginning, middle, and end
Level G Books
Are You Ready to Play Outside?More Spaghetti, I Say!Just For YouSheep in a Jeep
- Are similar to level F
- Have 1, 2, and 3-syllable words
- Have more challenging vocabulary and ideas
Level H Books
Old Hat New HatJust Me and My DadSammy the SealThe Watermelon Seed
- Include decodable words of 2 or more syllables
- May have a smaller font
- Have slightly more challenging ideas and vocabulary
- Are more literary and less repetitive
Level I Books
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!Hi Fly GuyBig Dog … Little DogThere’s a Nightmare in My Closet
- Are similar to level H
- Include complex and compound sentences
- Have more complex stories with varied themes
Level J Books
A Friend for DragonHenry and Mudge seriesPoppleton seriesMr. Putter & Tabby series
- Have 3-12 lines of text per page
- May have short chapters
- Include words with complex spelling patterns
- May have very few illustrations
Level K Books
Frog and Toad seriesMercy Watson seriesLing & Ting seriesNate the Great series
- Are similar to level J, but are often longer
- Still have a reader-friendly layout
Level L Books
George and Martha booksOliver and Amanda pig booksPinky and Rex seriesTacky the Penguin
- Have 5-24 lines of print per page
- Have a more challenging layout
- May have minimal or no illustrations
- May be 60-100 page long chapter books
- Are often simple chapter books with short chapters
- Include 1, 2, 3, and 4-syllable words
Level M Books
Judy Moody seriesVacation under the VolcanoJunie B. Jones seriesMarvin Redpost series
- Include longer, more complex stories
- Have elaborate plots and multiple characters
- May have no illustrations
Level N Books
The A to Z Mysteries seriesThe Enormous CrocodileGooney Bird seriesNikki & Deja series
- Similar to level M, but slightly more challenging
Level O Books
Ramona seriesMrs. Piggle Wiggle booksHuey & Julian booksAmber Brown series
- Similar to level N, but slightly more challenging
Level P Books
Bad Kitty booksEncyclopedia Brown seriesMagic School Bus chapter book seriesWayside School series
- Similar to Level O
- Slightly more complex themes
- Greater use of figurative language
And there you have it! An overview of the guided reading levels from A-P.
Thank you for your expertise. I love the early chapter books Guided Reading Level J-P.
Will you have sometime in the near future a list of book series for GRL Q-Z?
I would love to also purchase this valuable resource.
Have an awesome day!
Hi Jill! I’m sorry that I don’t have a plan to create that. I focus on materials for preK through 3rd grade, and since that goes out of my grade range, it isn’t something I plan to work on.
Do you have any suggestions on how to assess guided reading levels without purchasing an assessment curriculum?
What you need is a set of benchmark texts for each level. Then you would do running records on each text and determine if the child is at an independent/instructional/frustration level for each. This is actually how I did it as a teacher; I never had an official assessment. This series is about running records: https://thisreadingmama.com/about-running-records/
I thought I had signed up for your site but in 2019. I would like the overview. I help with my grand daughter who is in kindergarten.
Do you have any suggestions how to help in getting my daughter from level D to level J she’s in second grade and we are way behind in reading level?
Sorry for the delay here, Liliana! I have a lot of things I could suggest, but I need more information. Please send me an email so I can help you out. 🙂 anna(at)themeasuredmom(dot)com.
Thank you so much for this – really helpful!
Anna, you had mentioned on your finding leveled readers for your classroom that you were planning on writing reading level passages. Did they come our yet?
I have two girls in Kindergarten that are on a J level and I find it very difficult to find appropriate readers for their level and age. I thought the short passages could help me out. Thanks for all you do for us.
They’re with my editor right now. I hope to have them up next week – make sure you’re on the email list, because I’ll offer them for a reduced price that week! They’re differentiated passages, and the lowest level is J. 🙂
Thanks you soooooo much. I’m constantly on your sight looking for ideas for my class. Barb
Great post. I look forward to hearing where to find these leveled readers. I would like the reference page, but I was unable to download (the button did nothing when I clicked on it). Thanks again.
Hmm… it works when I click on it. What should pop up is a box that allows you to put in your name and email address. After that the reference sheet will pop up.
This is very helpful. Thanks!
You’d mentioned providing the best source to find graded books according to this reading scale.
I’d love to know your preferred source of books.
That’s next week! 🙂