Leveled reading uses various assessment tools to determine how well your child reads, and then matches them to books that are challenging enough for them 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. Three of the most common leveled reading methods include Guided Reading Level (GRL), Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) and Lexile Measures.
Guided Reading Level (GRL)
At the beginning of the school year, your child will sit one-on-one with their teacher and read from a benchmark book (one considered standard for the grade). Kids may also be asked to answer questions about the text or retell the story. Their teacher may use a Reading Record to calculate any oral reading mistakes and to help determine a suitable guided reading level and books for your child. Under GRL, books run from A to Z, with A being easiest.
Throughout the year, your child's teacher will gradually move your child step by step into more difficult text, providing guided instruction along the way. At home, you can support the reading in the classroom by providing books at the appropriate level for your child to read independently.
Here are great books for different Guided Reading Levels:
Read more about guided reading levels here.
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.
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 they're 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 them every day and expose them to the language of books. Have them read to you. If they make a mistake, simply tell them the correct word and let them 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 they are 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 they are one or two levels behind peers.
Want more activities and reading ideas? Sign up for our Scholastic Parents newsletter.