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Leveled Reading

Has your child come home from school and told you she needs an H book, or perhaps a 3.4, green, or 450 book? You have just experienced leveled reading.  Many people are confused by reading levels and for good reason—they can be confusing.

What is leveled reading?

Leveled reading is simply matching a reader to an appropriately challenging book.  To do this, two things must be known: first, how well your child reads and second, the level of the book. Your child’s teacher will determine how well your child reads. The publishing companies determine the reading levels of their books. This is where it may get confusing, because each company uses a different method to measure their books. There are over thirty different readability formulas and each uses different criteria and different mathematical equations. To make things even more confusing, each company creates its own reading level scale. Some use numbers; others use grade levels, letters or colors.

Which reading level method is your child is using?

There are four main reading level systems used in the Salt Lake County area schools.

If the book level is:

They are using:

a number with a decimal point, such as 3.4 or 5.2

Accelerated Reader (AR)
Scholastic Reading Counts

a letter, such as H, M or R

Guided Reading by Fountas/Pinnell

a three digit number, such as 540 or 720

Lexile levels

a color, such as green, blue or red

Many different leveling methods use colors.
Your school’s library may be using their own unique color coding to help students find books. Ask your school’s media specialist for help.

Which reading levels match which grades?

This reading levels chart gives a general overview of which reading levels fall within each grade. Remember, all children learn to read at different rates. It is more important to match your child with an appropriate and interesting book than to restrict them to an exact grade or reading level.

How do I find leveled books at the library?

As our libraries serve multiple schools using different methods, we do not label our books with specific reading levels. Please ask a librarian for help. However, we do divide our children’s books into general reading stages.

JT (Juvenile Toddler) Sturdy board books designed for babies or very young children.

JP (Juvenile Picture books) Picture books in which the illustrations are as important as the text. They are usually written with both parents and children in mind.

JV (Juvenile Very early readers) Simple, short books with a repetitive text that is usually phonics based.

JE (Juvenile Early readers) Beginning chapter books for children with basic reading skills who are starting to read independently.

JF (Juvenile Fiction) Longer chapter books for fluent readers.

How do I find leveled books online?

AR Bookfinder A tool for finding books by Accelerated Reading level.

Lexile Find a Book Look for books by Lexile or grade level.

Scholastic Book Wizard Find books by Lexile, Guided Reading, AR, or DRA level.