What are some guidelines for using this list with different ages?
Children at this age are usually just beginning to read. As you know, you want reading to be a fun, positive experience for them. I suggest starting your child with level 1 and move very slowly up through the levels. Once your child approaches level 4, I recommend you intersperse reading time with practicing short vowel words and words that appear often in books. By combining reading and word practice, your child will be more prepared to move on to levels 5, 6, and beyond.
Go slowly through the levels on the list, starting with level 1. Children at this age will also need a lot of practice with short and long vowel words and words that appear often in books before they can move forward with higher levels.
Children in this age group may have more experience reading. You can move your child through the levels as you see they are mastering more and more skills.
How do I get the books?
The easiest way to find these books is to place the books on hold. You can do this online and they will be waiting for you on the hold shelf at the library. If you prefer, you can also go to the library and pull books yourselves.
I would recommend keeping the books that your child has already read for at least three weeks so that he or she can reread them. Kids love to reread books because it helps them feel confident. You can renew items online at most libraries for 1-3 months. I cannot emphasize enough the power of your child reading the same books over and over to help them build confidence in their skills.
What if there aren’t very many books from the list available at my local library?
If your library system does not have a book you are looking for, you can search Inter-Library Loan (ILL), through which you can use to obtain more books from the list. Your ILL may also be called “Prospector”.
Some titles may be difficult to track down in your particular library system. Even if you are not able to have your child read every book on the list, they will still benefit from the books they do read.
Which level should I start with?
In general, I recommend starting with Level 1. If a level seems too easy, you can always move on to the next level. Or, if your child is already reading some on their own, you may want to start with Level 3 and see if that is a good starting place. If your child is already able to read and comprehend very challenging books, the books on this list may be too easy for your child. However, they may still benefit from learning some new vocabulary words.
How quickly should I move on to the next level?
Take your time since there are so many skills necessary to read. If you see that the books are frustrating for your child, read with them, slow down, and work with them on strategies to figure out tricky words. You may get through a few levels on the list and then need to keep rereading the books that they have already read while concentrating on words or word patterns for a period of time.
For a book to be at a child’s reading level they should be able to read nine out of every ten words correctly. If they are missing more than about 10% of the words, they’ll probably get frustrated reading the book. It’s okay for you to assist your child when they are frustrated with the book. Once they can read the book while missing no more than a word or two, it’s important to keep reading the book to develop their fluency. If you want to go the extra mile, you could take note of how many words your child missed while reading it to see if it is at a good level for them or not.
How are the levels organized?
The levels go from easiest to most difficult (Level 1 is easier than Level 2) and they go from easiest to hardest within the levels as well. As a general guideline, Levels 1-4 are approximately Kindergarten level; Levels 5-15 are approximately 1st grade level.
Should I sit down with my child to read these books?
Yes. The books on this list are appropriate for your child to read, with your support, as you sit beside them. After they’ve read the book at least once, they can read it without you sitting by their side.
Should I tell my child the title of the book?
I recommend that you ask them if they know the title and let them try to figure it out. If they don’t get it fairly quickly, go ahead and tell them the title.
Should I help my child read the book if they seem frustrated?
If you find that the book is too difficult for your child, feel free to help your child with words. Or, read the book out loud at the same time as your child. That way you can give them some support as they work through the book.
You can also try to give your child a little time and they may be able to figure out tricky words. Don’t worry if you have to tell your child a word. The English language is complicated — they will need lots of exposure to words.
What should we do once we have read most of the books on the list?
If your reader has completed reading almost all of the books on the list up to Level 15, your child is ready to expand beyond the list. Find out what your child is interested in and find books on those subjects to continue to build on their success.
Good luck on this exciting reading journey!