Category Archives: Comprehension

More on Reading Levels, Finding the Right Book

So, how do I find the right book for my child? I don’t want a book that is too difficult and will halt progress. Iblack-and-white-28791_1280 don’t want something too easy that will not challenge and encourage growth.

This is a question every mom considers when making plans to help her child learn to read. I have some ideas I would like to share with you. They are strategies I have used in the classroom, and I still consider them in my home, when schooling my own children.

I think we all agree that no matter how far behind or how far ahead of the “average” child our child is, we must start at the skill level they have mastered. Moving ahead when a child is not ready will confuse him. Lagging behind when a child is ready to move forward will leave them feeling unengaged. In either case, they may question if learning is worth the effort. We want to avoid both situations and build a love for reading.

Fortunately, finding a books for your child is not a difficult task. We are going to visit two ways to get your child matched with the right  books. The first is by perusing the library. Take your child to a section of the library that you think would meet his level and interests. In our library, we have a place for picture books, children’s chapter books and nonfiction, teen chapter books, and adult novels and non-fiction.

I like to require my children to choose something from both the fiction and non-fiction to check out. I ask them what topic they would like to read about and help them find that section. I give them ample time to pull books from the shelf about their chosen topic. Sometimes another topic attracts them and that is okay. I encourage them to read a page or two from any section of the book. If is is too hard for them to read and they do not understand100_1031 what they are reading, they can put it back. This is not a strict rule, because my oldest has learned to use Google and the dictionary to look up words, concepts and background information to help her understand the book. These are books that are great for instructional reading, reading that includes new concepts and vocabulary in a new context.

However, there is also a time for books that are right on your child’s level. These books are meant to be enjoyed. Your child should not struggle with vocabulary or concepts in these books. With these books you will most likely discuss things like plot, characters, and setting or use these books to teach concepts like cause and effect and other reading skills. It is much easier to teach these reading skills with books they are familiar and comfortable with. Checking for understanding daily will ensure your child has books suited for his comprehension level.

Another way to ensure your child is reading books on his independent level is to get a sampling of different leveled books and have discussions after reading to assess comprehension and find the level he best understands when reading solo. Your library probably shows the reading level of books in their card catalog, and you may be able to search it by reading level. If not, you can use the Scholastic Book Wizard to help you find books by whatever reading level measure is easiest for you. I find that grade level equivalent is easiest for most.  For a book that has a Grade Level Equivalent of 2.6, it would be an independent reader for a typical child in his second year and 6 month of reading, but children vary greatly. This chart might be helpful in translating the correlation of the other reading level measures for you. Choose a starting point for your assessment and then choose books on either side of that level. If you decide to start with leve 3.0, then check out books between 2.5-3.5. If you are not familiar with reading levels, your guess might be off quite a bit in either direction, but before long, you will be able to pick up a book and tell its level by reading a page or two. When I was teaching, I liked to choose one fiction and one non-fiction to assess reading level comprehension. It provided me with more information about strengths of the child’s reading. To read more about choosing books and the discussion used to assess comprehension read my other article on Reading Levels. I start the discussion about halfway down the page.

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If the library is not convenient or you simply can’t wait to get started you can visit Reading A-Z‘s site and pull down 1-2 samples from different levels, using the free trial. You can download a couple to start with and if you find the chosen books are not the right level after your discussion, you can download more, either above or below the level you started. Once you have discovered his new reading level, you can decide whether re-evaluate once a quarter or in whatever intervals you are comfortable with. You may be happy simply seeing him read more difficult text as you make trips to the library or assign him books for his learning.  If you choose to evaluate, you might want to get him involved in setting goals of where he would like to be in 3-4 months. He may think that he wants to see progress sooner. You can assess more often if he is comfortable.

It doesn’t matter what method you choose. Both of these methods work. I have used both with great success. Many times a child will tell you a book is to easy or too hard simply by putting it aside. Be sensitive to the choices your child makes and continue with informal assessments of comprehension. You will soon be able to pick out books that fit both his interest and skill level. I guarantee he will think you have some magical skills in finding the right book for him.

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Free 19th Century Readers by James Baldwin

James Baldwin was published during the turn of the century was a teacher, writer, and was a man of Christian faith. He wrote  over 50 books including readers, adapted stories for young children, history text, literary analysis, classic literature, and apologetics. Read more About James Baldwin.

The first set is the only complete set, which means the other books were not found or have a price tag. I will continue to search for them and add to the list. I have noted special characteristics of each set or book.

book-goggles-348090_640I have listed them in sets, in order of edition. This is somewhat misleading because many of the books were for 12-16 months use, so a book would be used for longer than our modern grade levels, in some cases.  Most times the level’s name was simply indicative of coming after the one preceding it.  Because of this I tried to find readers of the same publisher and author. Some series are not as complete as others, usually meaning that the missing book had a price tag on it. I will update as I find missing books from a series.

Find out where your child should begin reading by having them read, either silently or aloud, and asking some basic comprehension questions or asking your child to retell a story after reading a  short piece. Use the reader that is appropriate, moving forward in the series.

Some  readers will have phonics lessons for the little ones and oration lessons for older students. Others have spelling lists, language instruction, and exercises, or questions to check comprehension. I will make a note at the introduction to each set to indicate any special features.

 

The Baldwin Primer I just love this little book with color picture, beautiful cursive, music, and hands on activities. It’s a perfect beginning reader!

Baldwin School Reading by Grade: First Year

Baldwin School Reading by Grade: Second Year

Baldwin School Reading by Grades: Third Year

Baldwin School Reading by Grades: Fourth Year

Baldwin School Reading by Grade: Fifth Year

Baldwin School Reading by Grade: Sixth Year

Baldwin School Reading by Grades: Seventh Year

Baldwin School Reading by Grade Eighth Year

 

These have so much to offer. They include a variety of genres, along with exercises requiring response to the literature(expression), phonetic exercises(in the back of the book) and spelling exercises.

figures-54851_640The Bender Primer

Baldwin and Bender’s Fourth Reader

Baldwin and Bender’s Fifth Reader

Baldwin and Bender’s Sixth Reader

Baldwin and Bender’s Eighth Reader

 

These also include a variety of genres, along with exercises requiring response to the literature(expression), phonetic exercises(in the back of the book) and spelling exercises. The teacher’s manual imparts better understanding to the exercises in the readers. I do wish to find the complete set.

Reading with expression: a teacher’s manual to accompany …

Reading With Expression Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Years

 

More Readers

Perhaps to use in place of the missing 2nd and 3rd readers to the sets above.

Fairy Stories and Fables: a Second Reader

Another Fairy Reader: Companion to Fairy Stories and Fables

 Old Greek Stories: a Third Reader

The Golden Fleece: More Old Greek Stories: Companion to Old Greek Stories

 

mill-208571_640Adapted Versions For Young Children

Stories of Don Quixote: Written Anew for Young People

Robinson Crusoe: Written Anew for Children

Gulliver’s Travels Into Some Remote Countries:Written Anew for Children

 

Fifty Famous Stories Retold

Thirty More Famous Stories

Fifty famous people, short stories

 

Old Stories of the East

An American Book of Golden Deeds

A Story of the Golden Age

Stories of the King

The Story of Siegfried

 More James Baldwin

 

Bonus: The Industrial Primary Arithmetic

Free 19th Century Readers

Here are some 19th Century Readers. I have listed them in sets, in order of edition. This is somewhat misleading because many of the books were for 12-16 months use, so a book would be used for longer than our modern grade levels, in some cases.  Most times the level’s name was simply indicative of coming after the one preceding it.  Because of this I tried to find readers of the same publisher and author. Some series are not as complete as others, usually meaning that the missing book had a price tag on it. I will update as I find missing books from a series.

Find out where your child should begin reading by having them read, either silently or aloud, and asking some basic comprehension questions or asking your child to retell a story after reading a  short piece. Use the reader that is appropriate, moving forward in the series.

Some  readers will have phonics lessons for the little ones and oration lessons for older students. Others have spelling lists, language instruction, and exercises, or questions to check comprehension. I will make a note at the introduction to each set to indicate any special features.

steinbach-56641_640

This set of Readers has no primer. Selections include fables, fairy tales, rhymes, myths, nature stories and stories about life. Each book is graduated  to ensure a comfortable transition from one year to the next. This is a typical characteristic of the Readers.

New Century Readers Book 1

New Century Readers Book 2

New Century Readers Book 3

New Century Readers Book 4

New Century Readers Book 5

These readers are also graduated in form, starting with phonics  and sight words in the primer and focusing more on vocabulary and comprehension in the latter years. The exercises in the books include enunciation, spelling, vocabulary, mechanics of writing, articulation and comprehension. The speller covers enunciation, phonics and the mechanics of writing. It includes over 500 exercises covering years of spelling instruction.

Sander’s Union Pictorial Primer

Sander’s Union Reader: Number One

Sander’s Union Reader: Number Two

Sander’s Union Reader: Number Three

Sander’s Union Reader:  Number Four

Sander’s Union Reader: Number Five

Sander’s Union Reader: Number Six

Bonus: Sander’s Union Speller

This set  includes oral exercises in articulation and inflection, new vocabulary defined, reading notes and blurbs about select authors. The Speller includes dictation exercises and enunciation marks. Words are grouped by pattern and language uses.

McGuffey’s Readers Online Tutor -an online tutorial for using the texts.

McGuffey’s Eclectic Primer 

McGuffey’s First Eclectic Reader 

McGuffey’s Second Eclectic Reader

McGuffey’s Third Eclectic Reader 

McGuffey’s Fourth Eclectic Reader

McGuffey’s Fifth Eclectic Reader

McGuffey’s Sixth Eclectic Reader

Bonus: McGuffey’s Eclectic Spelling Book

The New McGuffey First Reader

The New McGuffey Second Reader

The New McGuffey Third Reader 

The New McGuffey Fourth Reader

The New McGuffey Fifth Reader

I’ll be on the lookout for the rest of this set.  They include includes oral exercises in articulation and inflection, spelling and vocabulary words, and comprehension questions. The Speller includes dictation work and words in their various parts of speech.

McGuffey’s New First Eclectic Reader

McGuffey’s New Fourth Eclectic Reader 

McGuffey’s New Fifth Eclectic Reader

McGuffey’s New Sixth Eclectic Reader

Bonus: McGuffey’s New Eclectic Spelling Book

Other McGuffey Readers

The Eclectic Second Reader: Consisting of Progressive Lessons(McGuffey)

McGuffeys’ Alternate Fifth Reader

Mcguffeys’ Fifth Reader of the Eclectic Series

High School Reader

 McGuffey’s High School Reader

Bonus: A History of the McGuffey Readers You can find out more about the McGuffey series and the levels here and here