Thanks so much for visiting HipWriterMama, my blog about children's books, authors and readergirlz!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Frustration with Children's Early Reading Books

The books in my second grader's classroom are rated on a scale of G, H, I, J, K, etc. I'm told this is consistent throughout the public schools in the United States. My second grader's teacher assures me that my child will gain continued confidence in her reading skills as long as I choose books at her appropriate reading level. With all the reading I do, you'd think it would be easy for me to find the right books. I seem to be having a problem...

The books in the library or bookstore are not rated the same way as the books my child is learning from in school. I've asked the librarians at my library for some guidance, and there has definitely been some debate on this. I find the way different publishers rate their early reader books so confusing. There are books that are rated as Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, Early Reader, Easy Chapter Books, or recommended simply by age. It seems some publishers have an easier rating system than others. Add the misrepresentation of the big type in some books, which at a quick glance would indicate the book would be easier to read, and I'm busy sorting through books when it should really be so much easier.

Am I the only one who gets frustrated by this?


Franki said...

This leveling system is pretty typical in schools but has gotten (from my perspective) totally out of hand. If you want to read more, here are a few I wrote and that others on the blog circuit have written on the topic. Makes me crazy! I think levels are important for teachers to know and understand in the early phases of reading. But, after first grade, kids should be choosing books for more authentic reasons. If you email me privately, I'd be happy to suggest some books if you let me know the kinds of titles she is reading now. The level info is more for the teacher than the child.
Here are some links.






Vivian said...

You are wonderful! I read through these links and feel so much better. I'll send you an e-mail.
Thank you!

MotherReader said...

It totally drives me crazy how inconsistent the labels are with the different publishers. Can't they get together with some general system?

My daughter is also a second grader, and not a strong reader. We're working our way through Henry and Mudge books. Slowly.

Lady S said...

I am glad you got some help on this topic. I teach (an on grade level)second grade literacy and am not familiar with this alphabetical leveling of books.

I have books from 5 words a page picture books to Magic Tree House and my kids read them all.

It is amazing how inconsistant from school to school reading levels are. We do the DRA in Vermont, but not until the end of second grade. I got a new student once and the former teacher (from same Supervisory Union) told me she was solidly second grade. She couldn't write complete sentences or read grade level books. All second graders are not alike!

I teach my students what my third grade teacher taught me, the 5 finger rule.

Good luck!

HipWriterMama said...

Mother Reader,
I agree. There should be some publishing standard in place. But when you see how many reading level test standards there are...it's just plain overwhelming.

Lady S,
Welcome back to the blogging world.