This past school year, your child has worked his or her way up the different levels of reading in the classroom, and you want your child to continue reading books at that level. You want to know where the “Level H” books (for example) are in the library.
I have some good news and some bad news for you. The bad news is that the library isn’t organized like a classroom, and doesn’t group books by reading level. Part of the reason for this is that there are many different ways of figuring out whether the language in a book is appropriate for a particular reader. Different schools use different methods, but we serve children from all of them. Different publishers use different methods too, and again, we order books from many of them. We do not know what method they use to “level” them, or if Level 3 for one publisher has anything to do with Level C from another.
The good news is that there is an easy way for your child to figure out if a book is going to be too hard or not. Have your child pick an interesting looking book. Use recommendations from friends, a librarian, a Sno-Isle booklist, or even the cover. Have your child open the book to the middle at random, and read a page. Hold up a finger for every word your child doesn’t know. At the end of the page, stop. At 0-2 fingers, the book will be easy, at 3-4 fingers the book will be challenging, and at 5 fingers and up it will be too challenging to be fun. Don’t worry if your child wants to read a book that is “too” easy for him or her, we as adults like to read easy books on occasion, too! (We like to call them “beach reads”) .
Now that you know that your child can read that book, double check to make sure that it is appropriate for your child. If your child gets nightmares easily and it’s a scary book, try something else. Your super 1st grade reader may be reading at the 6th grade reading level, but not all 6th grade reading level books are appropriate for a 1st grader.
Finally and most importantly, take a cue from your child. If your child resists reading a particular book or otherwise acts uninterested, that is okay. There are too many exciting books around that your child will be interested in to waste time on one s/he thinks is boring. “Boring” may just mean that it’s too hard for them or not at their emotional developmental level.
If you have further questions, please ask us at the Information Desk. We love to help!