Contact Marla at:
1517 Highland Valley Circle
Wildwood, MO 63005

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Reading Recovery and what do these levels mean?
Reading Recovery, created by, Marie Clay is a specialized instructional program for students in first and second grade (in the U.S.)  Reading Recovery involves a one on one teacher/ student session where the teacher collects diagnostic information, selects and introduces a book, and supports the student’s reading on a daily basis.  The Reading Recovery Levels that you will find on my spreadsheets are a correlation. Fountas & Pinnell have created an equivalence chart between classroom levels and the levels used in Reading Recovery. Many school systems have Reading Recovery Programs and these levels are helpful in selecting books.

2. What do I need to begin the leveling process?
1. Send 1 copy of each title to be leveled to: Read-Ability, Inc., 1517 Highland Valley Circle, Wildwood, MO 63005. Att: Marla Conn
2. Email an EXCEL spreadsheet with ISBN#, Title, and Author to:

3. What are some examples of books that epitomize certain grade levels?
We call these titles "Benchmark Books." This list of books helps educators assign guided reading levels to other books in a classroom library to be used as base for comparison. Click here for a pdf of the "Benchmark Books."

4. Are there books that cannot be leveled?
Yes, there are titles that are not appropriate.
• Books that have strong religious tones or psalms.
• Nursery rhymes from foreign countries
• Teacher resources
• Strong content intended to be read to or with a child. ( many guidance materials)
• Any book that you would not put in a classroom library.
• Books that are made up of many different stories or poems are difficult to level because the titles within the anthology vary. I will evaluate this as I read them. If the levels of the titles are consistent, it can be leveled.
• “Linguistic Readers” are books that contain simple words that beginning readers can sound out. These titles have distorted language structure and meaning, because the purpose of these books is to be able to recognize a sound symbol relationship For example, "A cat in a hat sat on the fat rat." This text will teach phonemic awareness of short “A,” however the experience is not meaningful. This cannot be leveled.

Keep this in mind when choosing titles to send for leveling:
Books are leveled because we want children/young adults to be able to go to a shelf and choose a book that can be read independently, or so that teachers can choose a title to read with a group that will be challenging enough to increase proficiency, fluency and literacy skills with out causing frustration.

5. What is a Lexile Level?
A Lexile Level is a mathematical formula used by MetaMetrics, Inc. to calculate the difficulty of the readability of a book. A “lexile” is a standard unit for measuring the comprehensibility of a text. The entire book is used to make this determination. Lexiles are sometimes used along with a computerized reading program very similar to Accelerated Reader. Teachers cannot level books using Lexile levels. Only trained analysts from MetaMetrics, Inc. are qualified to use the “formula”

6. How is a Guided Reading level different from a Lexile level? Guided Reading levels are more subjective and are not based on a mathematical formula, rather on text features and the demands that are made on a reader. Picture support, vocabulary development, time reference, plot and story development, page layout, and side text, are some of the many characteristics analyzed when determining the readability of text. Although these characteristics are much more difficult to assess, they represent “real life reading”. We need to keep in mind that just because a book is a particular level does not mean that it will make the same demands on a reader. Many books on a level ”J” will have different characteristics.

Guided Reading recognizes that not only will books have varied characteristics, but children have unique experiences, interests and abilities that will also determine how they handle a particular text. GR allows for flexibility. You have different students with different experiences that will interpret the same book in unique ways. Reading is not in my opinion, a skill that can be measured by a thermometer or a defined unit of measurement, but a developmental process that is complex.

Teachers need to be able to recognize and understand the conformation of text criteria used to determine reading levels. They need to read and discuss books with one another so that they can be successful in matching their students with appropriate reading materials and become proficient, fluent, happy readers.

Guided Reading levels are part of a bigger picture. They are part of a philosophy about literacy and balance. Lexile compares its measurement to a thermometer and taking a child’s temperature. It is always consistant. I compare Guided Reading to trying on a pair of jeans. We all have different shapes and tastes. No two people will look the same in a pair of jeans regardless of the size, but the size is instrumental in finding a good fit.