Leveling your library at home


Now that Miss L is officially a voracious reader, I wanted to make her library a bit more reader friendly. Back when I was teaching middle school, I knew that one of the biggest hurdles my students had to becoming successful readers was finding the right level books for their reading level. It’s always important to have texts where you can be a successful reader along with those that challenge you, and sometimes it’s difficult figuring out which are which. Knowing a student’s reading level helped me guide them to the right books and I really became sold on them as a teacher. So, in order to help Miss L advance her reading skills, I grabbed some colored dot stickers and my smartphone and got down to the task of creating a home leveled library. 

There are many popular reading level systems, but the most popular three are: Lexile Levels, DRA Levels, & Guided Reading Levels. 

· Lexile Levels are designated on a numerical scale from 0L-2000L.

· DRA Levels are on a scale from A1-80.

· Guided Reading Levels are on an alphabetic scale from A-Z.

I decided that using Guided Reading Levels would be best for our library system, as it is a familiar scale to Miss L at age 5 and… well… it’s easy to write on a little label for book spines!

First, I came up with a color coding scheme for my dots: GREEN for A-I, PURPLE for J-P and YELLOW for Q-V. I saved the final color dots for another day in the future, as there aren’t too many 6th grade plus reading books on her shelves right now.

Then, it was up to me to start finding all of the levels of her books. For this task, I went with the easiest option and downloaded a book scanning program for my smartphone: Scholastic Book Wizard. I just scanned the UPC code of each book and each one was added to Miss L’s library with information on its all of its reading levels. (p.s. I also downloaded Lit. Leveler and it worked well too!) For books that I didn’t find on the app, I then tried looking up the Lexile Level on the web and then assigned it the corresponding Guided Reading Level using this comparison chart.

Finally, using the list, I attached dots with the appropriate letter rating to each book.

With the colored dots, Miss L doesn’t have to worry about shelving the books in the “right spot” or in the “right order.” It’s so powerful to watch her pick up a ‘C’ book and read through it all on her own with no issues, and then go and select another book she’ll be successful at. We still read together every night, but more and more I end up finding her flashlight tucked under her covers in the morning as she squeezes in a bit more words after we say goodnight.   

Oh… And if you purchase books from Scholastic flyers, they list the reading levels under each book! I love that they do this now for parents and teachers alike!