17 answers

Question About Reading Levels & Reading Above Grade Level

My 1st grader is reading above grade level. She is bored with the little chapter books they send home as part of her homework. She's also supposed to be reading additional books and then recording them on her reading log. We've been reading various books from her book collection (we have about 80-100 books) and they all seem too easy for her. I'm not sure if it's because she's already familiar with the stories. I would like to find some books for her to read to me and vice versa. I overheard a tutor, I guess it was, at a restaurant the other day meeting with a family. He said that you take their reading level and then match it with books from the library with that same reading level # on them. I'm not sure what he was talking about. Does anyone know? How do I find out her reading level?

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What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Many books have a reading level listed on the back cover. You can get them at the library or buy them from a bookstore or a thrift store. You can look at some labeled books and get an idea on what to look for in unlabeled books.

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More Answers

First of all, talk to her teacher.
When I worked in first grade I remember questioning this practice. But it turned out children who seemed to be "bored" with what they were reading were often not quite ready to move to the next level. That's because they are expected to read with a certain fluency before moving on. Most of what I did was read one on one with kids and helped them build their reading boxes. Kids who claimed to be bored were usually just anxious to move to the next level, and there's nothing wrong with that, but moving too fast hinders their comprehension.
Like I said, talk to her teacher first. She will give you a full explanation, and yes, she CAN tell you her reading level and you can get a list from the teacher and the library as well. Happy Reading :)

5 moms found this helpful

Ask her teacher from school. If they read AR books, then they will have an AR reading level (AR is "Accedlerated Reading" program) and any librarian can give you a list of books within the range your child reads in.

There is another reading level called a Lexile score. That is given after your child takes a CRCT or SAT standardized test. Not sure what your school does in the way of standardized testing, but after they do the testing and receive the scores, there is typically a Lexile score given based off the reading portion of the test. You can use that number/range the same way. Ask at your library, or the school library, or google for a list of books that fall in that lexile range.

In the meantime, since you may not have any of these scores to go by, take her to the library. Ask your local librarian what other kids her age are typically reading and start there. If they are too easy, ask the librarian to suggest some books at the next level of difficulty, and move on to those.

Or, just take her to a book store, and browse. You should be able to tell rather quickly if it is just that she knows the stories you have at home, or if the actual material is not challenging enough for her.
FWIW, my daughter was reading Geronimo Stilton books around that age. And she was still reading below her ability, but she loved the stories. She'd read one in about 3 hours, cover to cover. Your daughter may or may not be reading at the same level my daughter was at that time, but it will give you something to look at if you go into a book store.

ETA: Here's a jumping off point: http://lexile.com/about-lexile/grade-equivalent/grade-equ...

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Ask her school librarian if she can check out some books from the school library..

The librarian and her teacher should be able to tell you what level and what group of books would be good for her.

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If you look at the information page of the book, there were be a set of numbers under the copyright. the first number is the lowest reading level.
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 - means that it is a level 3.0 book

Here are some links to help you


Also, if your child gets the Scholastic book order forms, the descriptions now mention the reading levels, Lexile and AR levels of most books featured.

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We homeschool and we use this list to find books:


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Certain books have 'reading level numbers' on them. (Like EZ Reader 1, 2, 3, etc.).

In general, though, books tend to not have those, but still be in quasi homogenous levels.


Magic Treehouse
Encyclopedia Brown / Cam Jansen
Geronimo Stilton
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Choose Your Own Adventure

Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew
Harry Potter
Percy Jackson
39 Clues
George's Secret Key to the Universe
Black Stallion
Tom Sawyer / Huck Fin / most of Mark Twain
Little House

Hunger Games
Swiss Family Robinson
Robinson Caruso
Sherlock Holmes
Pern Dragon Riders
Belgariad & Mallorean
Lord of the Rings
Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy

Count of Monte Cristo
Earth's Children (Auel)
Pride & Prejudice (and other Austen)
Shakespeare's Plays

Now... I might change the order around depending on the kid, and also on the themes involved. Book level guides are often as much about THEME as they are about vocabulary and structure and length. There are ALSO "bridging" books. Like Harry Potter starts out as a LONG but fairly easy chapterbook in the beginning of the series... but progresses onward to the next "level" by the last books (mostly, it's that Rowling's writing gets better). Similarly... Shakespeare can be DEVOURED by readers several levels "down", when it's presented one way (and be unreadable when presented another way). Ditto Little House, Swiss Fam Robinson, etc. are often read TO children, instead of having them read them. Reading them ups their levels quite quickly, as their minds start listening to/for and incorporating somewhat 'archaic' language and structure, and after a book or two outloud, and reading them on their own.,, but they'd never get past the first few pages on their own without the rhythms and patterns gotten from listening to them.

4 moms found this helpful

My daughter brings books from home for reading time. We've had this issue and now its a matter of us choosing the books are that are at her level. There is, I believe, an a-z chart for early readers but when they are beyond that, like your daughter may be, you're then in the position to become more familiar with children's novels. I love it. I LOVE that she's an early reader (because its all about me: ) and we/she gets to read all my childhood favorites. I spend a lot of time on Amazon (not shopping) checking out reviews, reading the first page or two, and then picking them up from the library.

Its early in the year, but I'm wondering if you can mention this to the teacher? My daughter's teacher knew her from last year as she was sent to this teacher for reading groups. I'm hoping you have a good experience as some (rare) teachers will resist the differentiation if she is not yet specifically assigned to GATE.

3 moms found this helpful

your teacher or librarian should be able to help you with this.
'reading levels' are necessary, i suppose, but i find them completely useless. reading should never be boring. if she's bored, she should be able to read books that interest her. the library is packed full of them.
i'm a voracious reader, and some of my favorite titles are children's classics and YA books. that doesn't mean i have a 'low' reading level, it means i have a varied one. i was reading full-length novels to my kids in elementary school, and the wind in the willows when they were in high school. relegating certain books to certain grades just seems incredibly regimented to me.
it definitely sounds as if your daughter is beyond ready for something new. go to the library and turn her loose. i'll bet she doesn't need a librarian to suggest anything to her in that house of wonder, but if she does, the librarians will be thrilled to help.

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