Leveled reading uses various assessment tools to determine how well your child reads, and then matches her to books that are challenging enough for her to make progress. Books are categorized into levels of difficulty, which is how a perfect match, based on ability, can be made. There are several leveled reading systems utilized in schools across the country. Here are three of the most common leveled reading methods:
- Guided Reading Level (GRL)
At the beginning of the school year, your child will sit one-on-one with his teacher and read from a benchmark book (one considered standard for the grade). He may also be asked to answer questions about the text or retell the story. His teacher may use a Reading Record to calculate any oral reading mistakes and to help her determine a suitable guided reading level and books for your child. Under GRL, books run from A to Z, with A being easiest.
- Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA)
Similar to GRL, at the beginning of the school year your child will read a benchmark book to the teacher and then retell the story. The teacher then scores your child on a range of skills, such as accuracy of reading, comprehension, and fluency. This system starts with level A, for the easiest books, and then switches to numeric levels, running from 1 to 80.
- Lexile® Measures
Your child may receive a Lexile measure in one of two ways: by taking a school-administered Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) assessment, specifically designed to generate a Lexile measure of reading ability, or by taking a standardized leveled reading test that converts the results to a Lexile measure. Lexile also evaluates books for difficulty, with levels ranging from 200L to 1700L+ for advanced readers.
- How can I find the “just right” books for my child?
Ask your child’s teacher what level she is at, and request a list of appropriate books. However, when reading at home, educators say that children should read a level or two below the one they read at in school, when they are receiving instruction from the teacher.
- How can I help my child become a better reader?
Continue to read to him every day and expose him to the language of books. Have him read to you. If he makes a mistake, simply tell him the correct word and let him move on. This increases enjoyment and fluency. To increase comprehension, talk about the story after you’ve read it.
- What level should my child be reading at in each grade?
There is a range of levels within each grade. Your child’s teacher can address your child's current level and the goals she is working on with your child. To see how levels generally correspond to each grade, review the chart below. With good instruction, your child will steadily become a better reader, even if he is one or two levels behind peers.