In our district we use the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System to determine each student's instructional and independent levels. "Just right" books come from their independent levels. Of course, student's prior knowledge can play a role in their understanding, so these levels aren't exact for each book. I write independent levels on sticky notes that students keep in their reading response binders. My higher readers, those a whole grade level above or more, get a larger range of books than those who are on or below. Every week I do a quick check to make sure they are reading books that are appropriate for independent practice. If a student wants to try a book out of their range, I have them read a couple pages to me and answer a few questions. After doing that, it's usually clear to me and the student if that book would work for them. Hope this helps! Genia
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