How do I figure out my child's reading levels?

As a parent or guardian, you always want to make sure your child has a great experience with books. This can help in his or her development through childhood. That being said, it is important to be aware of your child's reading levels. When a child is matched well with their reading level, their reading skills will have the chance to improve. 

The first thing you should do is to ask your child's teacher their reading level. There could be a letter or number system depending on your child's teacher and their school system. The Reading Level Correlation Chart will help to compare different reading level systems. Typically, teachers will assign nightly reading which will help you learn about the level at which your child can read. Other teachers will have systems of quiet reading time in class, where each student has the opportunity to read on their own pace in the classroom. 

The first thing to do select three books that your child will generally be able to read- at least 98% of the words in the book. The Scholastic's Book Wizard will help show you the different reading levels of the books. There are various types of reading level systems, but the Guided Reading (A-Z) is usually people's favourite. Stick to the reading level that the teacher assigns to help align your at home system to the school's.  The three books you chose should only differ by either one letter (Guided Reading or the DRA level system). This means they are of similar difficulty. You want to try to find a consistent reading level among your three chosen books. 

    1.If your child is reading at a Kindergarden to grade 1 level, choose a passage around 100 words and ask your child to read it orally. 

    2. Keeping a photocopy of the passage as they read, cross or note down any words that they misread. Do not provide any hints and allow them to try multiple times if they are having difficulty with a word. Children     tend to self-correct if they read a sentence and are aware is does not make total sense. 

    3. Keep a tally of the misread words.

    4. Calculate using (total words - words misread) / total words

This is the reading accuracy rate. 

Try to repeat this process with the other 2 books you chose for your child. There are three levels for your child's reading levels. There is independent level where they can read without any help. The instructional level; this is where they can read with your assistance. The frustration level is where they are unable to read the book at all. 

  •  Over 98%- independent level
  • Between 90-97%- instructional level
  • Below 90%- Frustrational level

If your child reads the books with different accuracy rates, look for the ones that are more consistent with your child's instructional level. Using the Scholastic Book Wizard, try to find books that are one level easier. Try to see if these types of books help match their independent reading level where they can read it on their own. 

When a child reads at their own independent level, they are improving skills such as confidence, knowledge and fluency. A child should read at the instructional level with the support of a parent or teacher to help improve their reading skills.

Tags: Reading Level, Children Education