Hi Teri, thanks for writing! I love your student-centered approach to book basket labels. It's easy to get caught up in making things "pretty" when that doesn't really matter for the educational value. Thanks for your suggestion!
Yes, I have a wide range of levels in my genre baskets, and I have the level written onto the cover of almost every book in those baskets. (Well, I try for every book!) My students know that they will be most successful if they find books in the genre baskets that are around their level. I don't restrict my students to only reading books on their independent levels, though. I find that motivated readers can often make it through higher-level books if they are very interested in the subject matter, and I'm also okay with them doing some light below-level reading from time to time. Levels are definitely a helpful scaffold, but not the end all-be all, especially once my students are fluent readers/decoders. By the higher levels (>S) I find that interest level seems to matter more than reading level.
By the way, Scholastic has an awesome new Book Wizard app that makes leveling books a breeze! Check it out and let me know what you think. All the best ... Alycia
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