To level or not level?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by MissH225, Jul 6, 2009.

  1. MissH225

    MissH225 Comrade

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    Jul 6, 2009

    So I know many people level their classroom library with guided reading levels. When I was student teaching and when I was an Instructional Assistant this year the teachers didn't have their libraries leveled. I see the benefit of children being able to find "just right books"based on their level but I don't know I also saw two situations where students were taught to pick "just right books" without knowing the levels.

    I'm not sure what my question is in all this but maybe just want some feedback on what other people do. I'm not against either way, just wondering. I don't have a teaching job yet so I figure I can spend my free time working on my classroom library (aka putting books into genres and maybe leveling) :cool:
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I wouldn't level my classroom library. I would just put them in genres.
     
  4. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Jul 6, 2009

    As much as I'd love to be that organized, genres is the best I can do right now. It would be a long project to level them but I suppose I could start bit by bit in the fall and just take my time. Why not?
     
  5. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    I level my books as a way for students (and myself to keep track of reading experiences). My kids log their reading books, and we can look from the beginning of the year to the end. "Wow Tommy, you were reading M level books at the beginning of the year and now you are reading Q!" It is a surefire way of have quick, easy data on your kids. I also level my books to ensure that I have enough reading material for my students. For example, I am moving from teaching 5th grade to teaching 7th and 8th grade. When putting my books in my new classroom I quickly discovered gaps in the higher level books (a non-issue for 5th grade). Need to have a solid library for my 7th and 8th graders, and I knew exactly what level of books to purchase to fix my library.
     
  6. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    Jul 6, 2009

    I'd wait until you get a core curriculum and then level your books based on the curriculum's standards. In my district we use colors and letters (A being the lowest).
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 7, 2009

    I'm in SSOOOO over my head here!!!

    But my 6 year old isn't a strong reader; we're working on that a lot this summer. I took all 3 kids to the library yesterday and everyone brought home some summer reading.

    Both of my older 2 kids brought home books above their reading levels. Both HATE to read (and it kills me!!!) but both found books that interested them. So they'll stretch a bit and that's wonderful. For them,genre would be the way to go.

    But my youngest gets frustrated if she can't read a lot of the words herself. So for young readers at least, I would say that leveling is the way to go. She's more excited to be able to read the words than by the plot. (And, seriously: in a Level 1 or 2 book, what plot are we talking about?? "Cat is hot, dog is not"??)
     
  8. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Alice, your youngest is the exact reason I level my library (and I also do quarterly reading assessments for their reading levels). As a parent wouldn't it be reassuring to know how your child has grown in reading throughout the year? Or if the teacher can provide a list of titles suitable for your reader?

    Of course, leveling your books does not mean that students can only read at their assigned level. That's a big no-no according to Fountas and Pinnell (educational gods in my book). However, if a kid at an M level continues to try to read Z level books, they need to be guided back to their reading level.
     
  9. MsX

    MsX Companion

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    Jul 7, 2009

    Could you do a mixture of both leveling and organizing by genre? I have both in my library and find that it works well. I ask students to pick 10 books from our leveled library and 3 from our "choice library" when they shop for books. That way I know they are reading some books that i'm sure are just right, but they also get to practice choosing just right books on their own. It's also useful when you have books that your can't figure out the level for; you just put them in your genre library :haha:

    Plus, depending on the age level of your kids, some kids have a harder time choosing appropriate books on their own. I teach first, and it never fails that I have at least a handful of kids that will go for chapter books, even if they're reading level C and no matter how many times we talk about just right books!

    So, perhaps have most of your library be genre based and just have a basket for each of the most common reading levels in your grade-level.
     
  10. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jul 7, 2009

    I have heard that you should never level your classroom library. The lit specialist at my school, as well as my college professors, said it is a bad idea because you don't want your students to focus on levels. They can really beat themselves up over not being as high as other students, and they may choose books based on level and not interest. Plus, books in the "real world" aren't leveled. They have to be able to choose books based on interest and genre.
     
  11. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Jul 7, 2009

    My reading program is only a success because some teachers who were parents of my students offered to come in and build me a leveled library my first year teaching!

    My students do nightly reading. For this reading, they must choose books at their level. They really get into it and ask to move up a level regularly. I listen to them read, and usually if they are self-motivated to ask, they are ready to move up a level. Sometimes I have to slow them down a little because I want their nightly reading to be successful and not frustrating.

    So those books are only for nightly reading. The rest of the classroom library is full of all kinds of books and levels. During independent reading, they are free to choose any books they want. Sometimes they just look at the pictures, or sometimes a lower reader will buddy up with a high reader and a grown up book on wolves, and they will figure out some of the reading together.

    I think both are important. I know that for young, beginning readers, they really need to be guided to books they can successfully read, or they get frustrated and don't want to read. But, they also need the chance each day to look at or read books that are not at their level, because there are so many interesting books they can't read yet.

    My kids also keep nightly reading logs and they can see their progress. I really play down who is at what level, but eventually they start noticing and everyone gets motivated to work hard and reach the higher levels. It is a tremendous program, thanks to those parents setting it all up for me! I am strongly in favor of having sections of leveled books so kids can experience success. Lots of times if their interest is beyond their ability, I will let them take the book home for mom or dad to read to them.

    Their reading logs are my records also. At the end of the year, everyone gets a certificate for how many books they have read. It is awesome! Yes, these are sometimes 4 page books, but they are reading!
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 7, 2009

    My non-fiction library is organized by 'topic', not leveled. My fiction is mostly leveled, the rest of fiction is in author study or genre baskets (fairy tales, poetry, etc)
     
  13. teach2read10

    teach2read10 Companion

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    Jul 7, 2009

    Leveled books

    We level our books. We buy a lot of books from a publisher that prints the levels right on the back cover. That saves us a lot of time.
    I've always felt the idea of students being stigmatized by levels is silly because students know who reads well and who doesn't without leveling. Moving up a level can be a powerful motivator to many kids.
     
  14. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Jul 7, 2009

    My library is a combination, most books are leveled, but then I have some baskets by author, some by genre. I make it a point to see what my kids are reading. Some need encouragement to read at a higher level, others need help choosing just right books.
     
  15. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    Jul 7, 2009

    My books are organized by genre and then within each genre by level. SO there are different levels in most of my book boxes. I group my levels.

    A-G are green stickers
    H-K are orange
    L-N are pink
    O+ are yellow

    I teach my kids the Goldilocks just right book choice method. The stickers allow them to get in the ballpark. When we conference, I can help them further if they are off track.

    In librarything, I have the exact level, if it is available.
     
  16. Lionteacher

    Lionteacher Companion

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    Jul 7, 2009

    My old School uses Accelerated Reader so all of my books have their AR level written in them. The students are able to read any level the so wish but this way they knew what level they were at when looking at a book.
     
  17. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Jul 8, 2009

    i do a mix. There are times I want kids to choose a book that in on their level and then times when i want them choosing based strictly on interest.

    So, levels - yes
    genres - yes
     

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