Thursday, August 21, 2008

Matching Your Child to Appropriate Reading Material

For any child there are three levels of reading material - independent, instructional, and hard. Children should have ample opportunity to read independent books which require little help from an outside source. This helps build their confidence and enjoyment for reading. The second level of reading is instructional. This is text that a child can read with a bit of support. This means that they can read most of the story but have some learning opportunities. These teachable moments are valuable in propeling the child's reading progress forward. Hard material is to hard for the child affording little opportunity for progress as there is "to much work" involved with the story and can be very discouraging. The goal for reading instruction time is to have your child reading at an instructional level. This is based on Vygotsky's theory of proximal development . It is not necessary to used a packaged reading curriculum to match your child to text that is instructional. As a matter fact, some packaged curriculums may be to low or to high. There are many lists of books on the internet which are leveled by alphabet - A through Z. The approximate grade levels that correlate to the letters can be viewed here - . Once you determine your child's instructional level, then you can find books at the library that correspond. The goal would be to progress up through the letters. Easy books are read with 94-100%, Instructional is 90-94% accuracy, and Hard is 89% or less. I am including several links of leveled book lists but there are many more that you can find simply by googling "leveled book lists" - , , and . My next post will talk about running records which are means of determining the accuracy of any book your child is reading. That will enable to determine what level your reading material is at for your child - independent, instructional, or hard. In addition, it will help you determine what strategies they are using and what strategies they are neglecting. It is an awesome assessment tool that anyone can learn and requires no special tools other than the book, the child, a piece of paper, and pencil. Please let me know if you have any questions!!!

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