finding a kid's reading level

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by jennyd, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. jennyd

    jennyd Companion

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    Jun 10, 2007

    I've looked around a bit and I've found lots of posts about leveling a classroom library, which is great because that's a big project of mine for this coming summer :)

    What I'm having trouble finding is information on figuring out the child's starting reading level when they come into my class in September. I teach at a small school that currently does not use any sort of leveling system. This year I can see that my first graders have made progress, but I don't have any concrete proof to say, "Johnny started here and now look where he is!"

    My principal is very supportive of my project, but without a formal system already in place, I'm a little unsure of how to start. I know I should have the kids read something and check their accuracy and comprehension, but I only have the books in our class library to work with - no official system or anything. Our Reading series is also rather old so even if we did have the little leveled readers that go with it, they were long gone before I got there in September.

    Any advice? Whatever you've got I'll greatly appreciate it! :p
     
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  3. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    Jun 10, 2007

    If you are willing to pay for it....(or get your school to pay for it) www.readingatoz.com
    is a GREAT site to start with!
    They have printable leveld books that you can use to teach guided reading and find levels. Each level has benchmark book that you can use for a running record and to help you determine where to start and what direction to keep going in.
     
  4. Andrea L

    Andrea L Habitué

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    Jun 10, 2007

    Could you give your students a test at the beginning of the year on the sight words of kindergarten and first grade (second and third if they can read those)? You could give the same test, but with more words during the middle and at the end of the school year.
     
  5. MissMcCollum

    MissMcCollum Companion

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    Jun 10, 2007

    I LOVE readinga-z.com....it is a lifesaver when I've tutored kiddos.

    Also, see if your principal is up for looking into the DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment)...slightly time-consuming, as it has to be administered one-on-one, but it provides so much excellent information! They've also just come out with a second edition of it. When I worked in SpEd, we used it to assess kids for measuring progress toward IEP goals. It helped the teacher to see, in a variety of areas...what the kids have achieved.
     
  6. dillpickle

    dillpickle Rookie

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    Jun 11, 2007

    We use AR. They take a star reading test in the beginning of the year to determine level. Go to renassaince place...I think it's renlearn.com.
     
  7. cheer

    cheer Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2007

    You can also check your local university to see if they have a teachers library we borrowed from them until our school bought it.
     
  8. born2teach84

    born2teach84 Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2007

    Do you use running records? We have a running records system where the teacher has a record sheet and you record the childs fluency as well as comprhension and that levels the child.http://www.readinga-z.com/newfiles/levels/runrecord/runrec.html I belive that is what the others are talking about. My county requies us to use running records on children k-2.
     
  9. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Jun 27, 2007

    My school uses the DRA as well!!!! I love it because it gives a very accurate assessment of where each child is. Like it helps you decifer which kids are "word callers" (just spitting out words but no comprehension) or which kids are great readers (knows the words and can retell the story, answer questions, make predicitons etc.).

    But if you are really in a bind, you can gather a bunch of books on each reading level based on Fountas & Pinnell guiding reading levels and just type out the first 100 words in the book. On a word document, you can type out the words and assess the kids by doing an impromptu running record on them based on the words they know. Total up their miscues/errors and ask them some comprehension questions that way. You can make any notes on the paper and go from there if you have to. I had to do this before my school got the DRA's and it helped me to understand where my kids were in the beginning of the year, which helped me to put them in books that were "just right" for them.
     
  10. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Jun 27, 2007

    Can you look at the books and level them by easier, medium and hard? Put them in different colored baskets. Within the first week of school, go around and read with each kid. We don't level our books either, and I have no ideas what grade level the books are. I find out what kids seem to be reading comfortably and we have book bags. They read from the book bags, and have several books to choose from. But I don't limit them to a specific level. When I read with them, I want them reading something "just right" and we use the 5 finger rule to figure out if they are reading something just right. For some kids, this means we pick up and try lots of books.

    Probably not the system most people would want to use!

    I look at these sites to help me figure it out.

    http://www.pps.k12.or.us/curriculum/literacy/leveled_books/

    (This has books by grade level- very broad)

    http://www.lexile.com/DesktopDefault.aspx?view=ed&tabindex=5&tabid=67

    (you can look up specific books here)

    http://content.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=4476

    (Get an idea of how to level each book here.)

    I go to lexile.com and find the book if they have it. Then I go to the scholastic site to figure out about what grade it is for.

    Since your school doesn't have a leveling system, I think color coding baskets and making sure kids are choosing most of the books from their color is probably good. You want them to sometimes stretch beyond their current ability if it is a book they REALLY want to read, and sometimes they need a break, and just want to read something easy. I compare this to reading People Magazine or something. That's ok once in awhile. Most of the time, they should read on their own level.. as broad or as narrow as you want to make it.
     
  11. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jun 27, 2007

    You might try purchasing Reading Inventory for the Classroom 5th edition, by Flynt and Cooter, published by Pearson (Merrill Prentice Hall. ISBN: 0-13-112106-5 It is an entire system in one book. According to the Introduction:

    The RIC is an informal reading inventory intended for reading levels from preprimer through grade 12. It was developed to meet the needs of professionals interested in assessing the reading competencies of students in public or private schools, intervention programs, or clinical settings. The primary purpose of the inventory is to assest teachers in the preliminary placement of students with appropriate reading and instructional materials. Additionally, the inventory can be used for educating preservice and inservice teachers enrolled in college courses.... Finally, because the RIC has several equivalent versions, or "forms," it can be used as a posttest at mid-year or other times to determine the extent to which instruction has been successful since the first testing (pretest) was administered.

    This was one of the required texts in my advanced literacy methods class (elementary), and I found it to be easily understandable and remarkably complete. Everything you need is right in the book. All you have to do is make copies and administer the "tests."

     
  12. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Jun 28, 2007

    I find the lexile level of the books I have (through the lexile database online) or approximate the level when it's not on the list. I then use Scholastic's SRA in determining the students' approximate lexile levels. That's available on the computer when you have Reading Counts at your school, I believe. I also give the San Diego Graded Word List to see where the students generally fall in deciphering words.
     
  13. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Jul 4, 2007

    Our school systems uses DRA also. It is time consuming,but it does give an accurate level for each child. The downfall is that in the older grades, it jumps by 10's. For example, in 4th and 5th grade, their are no materials between 40 and 50. I would love to see materials for level 42, 44, 48, to get an even more accurate picture of where my students are in 5th grade.
     

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