Sunday, May 17, 2015

Leveling Easy Readers; or, How I make everybody happy

This question pops up on a lot of listservs and online groups, so I decided to write down what we do so I can just link back to a post.

Originally, we had all the easy readers arranged alphabetically by author. That was it. Parents were continually asking what level their child should be reading and this increased as the local school district added four year old kindergarten and extended Scholastic Reading Counts and Lexiles to all grades. Personally, I'm against leveling, in general. However, our collection is there for the patrons, not for me! So, I came up with a compromise. All the books with a "level 1" got a red sticker, "level 2" got a green sticker, and "level 3" got a blue sticker. If the publisher hadn't put a level on the book, I just guesstimated.

This satisfies parents who want to just point and say "you're only allowed to read the red sticker books" but it also satisfies my own resistance to leveling books and realistically gives kids quite a range of reading possibilities, since every publisher's leveling system varies so widely.

Last year I also added a nonfiction section to the easy readers and circulation continues to expand rapidly. My next easy reader project is a plan to make a resource list of titles (easy readers and picture books) with just a few simple words in bold type on each page. We get asked for that constantly, especially with the push for kids to read younger and younger.
The sign

Paperbacks on display

Stickered easy readers

Easy reader nonfiction

1 comment:

Jen Robinson said...

Funny, I just organized my daughter's easy readers by level at home (there are a bunch b/c of review copies - I've been hanging on to them for years for the right time), easiest to hardest from left to right. The first time I pointed this out to her she reached in and grabbed one from the middle :-). Of course she's not really reading them on her own yet anyway, but I intend to remain flexible.