bella and rosie

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How Our Books Work: Our Leveling System

Overview of using leveled books

When children are learning to read, it is helpful to practice with books that are not too hard and not too easy. As you listen to your child read, consider how many words your child struggles with and how fast or slow he or she reads. A new book that is the right fit will have only a very few new words and your child should be able to read it at a comfortable pace.

I Love to Read books have been divided into four levels to help you select books that suit your child so that he or she will be successful. After your child can easily and quickly read books at his or her current level, you can move him or her to the next level. 

Getting StartedGetting Started: Perfect for introducing your child to reading

Getting Started books are very easy and simple to read. Each book includes only one or two sentences on a page. The books focus on a simple idea or have a simple story plot. The easiest Getting Started books have repetitive sentence structures (for the easiest books, look for the Level A on the back). Start by reading the book aloud with your child pointing to the words as you read. Next have your child read aloud to you pointing to the words as he or she reads. He or she will have only the beginning skills to solve new words, so help your child if he or she gets stuck. Your child may quickly memorize the sentence structures, which can be helpful in allowing your child to gain familiarity with words he or she will see in the next levels.

Getting StartedLevel One: For the child who is starting to read with help

Level One books have more lines of text on each page. There may be six to eight lines of print and it may be located in different places on the page. There will be new words in each book your child may not be familiar with; this will challenge your child. There will still be lots of pictures to help give clues to words that he or she may not know. Your child will still need help the first few times he or she reads this level of book. Be encouraging and don’t let him or her struggle. Encourage your child to try to figure out the new words by asking him or her to reread and make the first sound of the word, or look for parts of the word he or she knows, but tell your child the word if he or she isn't able to figure it out. It’s more important to keep reading.

Getting StartedLevel Two: For the child who is beginning to read on his or her own

Level Two books will provide new challenges to your child. The sentences on each page will be longer and there will be new words for your child to figure out. There may be less support through images. Your child might make mistakes and need to reread to check that everything is making sense and matches up with what he or she is looking at on that page. At this level, your child is able to do some problem solving on his or her own, but may need help with a few words.

Getting StartedLevel Three: For the growing reader

Once your child is able to handle reading longer sentences and has a fairly extensive vocabulary of words, he or she will be ready for Level Three books. These books are most often just right for children finishing up first grade and starting second grade. Your child will need to have strong skills for problem-solving new and bigger words. He or she also should be able to read in a fairly fast and fluent way—even when the books are unfamiliar.

Getting StartedLevel Four: For the newly independent reader

Level Four books are just right for children who have become confident and independent readers. The stories are written to interest young children and will provide new challenges. The books will be longer and more complex and require some thought to understand the characters and the plot. The books will have many more words and pages and your child should be able to read for longer periods of time as well as able to read silently. 

Find the right book for your child

To determine which book level your child should start at, try our Bookfinder Quiz in the yellow bar at the top.