Second of all, I am not an expert. Some of you have more years of homeschooling under your belt and will have lots to share on this subject. I welcome your thoughts.
Thirdly, I sat through a LOT OF TRAINING in my former life as a teacher and I'd like it all to mean something, OK?
There is a lot of confusion in the way books are leveled. Please do not think that teachers just walk over to the library and pull a book off the shelf and have a student read it. Teachers, at least in the district where I taught, have whole rooms full of emergent readers that have been specially leveled. Testing occurs at the beginning, middle, and end of the year to let teachers know what level each student reads on. Then they put the kids in a group with similar-leveled children, pull leveled emergent readers out, and read with them. Throughout the year, teachers take "running records" on students as they read...which helps them know to the percentage point if a child read the book with 95% accuracy or 60% accuracy, and whether they should move up or down a level for that child.
Teachers have a lot of work, folks.
In the olden days when I first began teaching, we had none of that. We had a set of "basal readers." Basal readers are a textbook adopted and chosen by the state and given to teachers at the beginning of the year in the form of a class set of 22. Every child in the class got out the book, turned to page 17, and started reading together. Which did not work, by the way. By the time I finished teaching, 11 years later...teachers just left those basal readers on the shelf.
Where I taught, all the teachers in Kindergarten through second grade were trained in guided reading. In addition to the book levels that regular classroom teachers used, which were the Fountas and Pinnell levels, I also had training in Reading Recovery. But we had charts that told you how a F&P level corresponded to a RR level. Then, there are Scholastic Levels, DRA levels, just plain old grade levels...it goes on and on. Oh mercy, there is science to this stuff I'm telling you.
There are many, many other ways to level books and none of them seem to have anything to do with the other. For example, some publishers just go ahead and level their own books. This results in frustration when a parent or grandparent purchases a book that says "Pre-Kindergarten" and the child cannot read it. I do not trust ANY book that has been leveled by a publisher. I want to know that book's level based on F&P, or RR, or DRA....levels that are based on research.
There is so much that goes into deciding a book's level. You, dear homeschool mom, don't need to know everything about book levels, but it is helpful to think about what all is considered when leveling them the correct way. How many syllables are in the words, the level of vocabulary, the length of sentences, the decodability of the words, the number of different words used, the predictability, the use of patterns, and on and on and on.
|Here is an example of a publisher leveled book.|
|It's confusing though. If you read the notes inside, they intend for parent to read this TO the child. Big difference.|
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