May 18, 2012

Determining Your Child’s Reading Level

While you may be giving your child books recommended for their age you will need to see what their reading level is. Sometimes, it is more helpful to buy children something simpler to improve reading or something advanced to challenge them.

There are several ways you can determine a child’s reading level, from using school textbooks to just talking to their teacher. Here are a few ways to help you determine your child’s reading level.

Be involved

Reading with your child is by far the best way to determine your child’s reading level. You will soon get a feel for their ability when they read a book to you, especially if it is one from their classroom. Each school grade should have a range of books for students to borrow that are appropriate for their year at school. Some will be easier than others because reading levels can vary quite a bit in each year group.

Using these books from school, get your child to read to you. If you find they are struggling with it, or if it is too easy, then ask them to bring another one home. You can also find one that is similar in your own collection.

Once you find a book they can read clearly and concisely then you have found their reading level. You can now work on increasing your child’s reading level by introducing more challenging texts. Most importantly, be part of their reading. Read to them, with them and get them to read to you. It will benefit them greatly.

Look on the book

Many books, especially those that are specific educational resources, will have an indication of what reading level it is. Some will simply be labelled Grade 1, Grade 2 and so on. These correspond to their year level at school and represent where children should be with their reading.

Unfortunately there is no consistent method to levelling books. The level printed in a book is usually determined by the publisher. Publishers will choose their levels differently, meaning the only consistent way to determine ability using labels and levelling is to read books only by one or two publishers. Books from the same publisher can be bought in sets which will then help you to get a better idea of your child’s reading ability.  

Talk to the teacher

While this may seem obvious, it is often an overlooked way of determining reading levels. This is especially true now in Australia’s education system as more testing is carried out regularly to help identify abilities in all areas of schooling.

In most classrooms teachers will conduct a reading test for all students and then apply this against a scale. This will then determine their reading age and it gives the best guide possible to their reading ability. Teachers should be open and communicative with parents about a child’s reading age in case there are any concerns.

Online testing

There are a number of online options to help determine your child’s reading level. This type of test checks phonics skills and reading comprehension level. Just be aware that many of the tests are from American websites so it can be a little confusing for Australian children. But it can still help when it comes to giving you a guide as to their reading level. Just do a Google search for “online reading assessment”.

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