I wanted to talk a little bit about Lexile Levels because they are being used to market books to certain age groups of kids and they can be very deceiving to a well-meaning parent. As you can see from the chart above, a Lexile level is simply the current way to match books with the reading level of a child. Many parents spend lots of hours helping their kids choose books to buy in a store or to borrow at the library. The hope is that your child will go home and sit down to read and enjoy it on his/her own.
However, this is where it gets tricky. Books, like the one I am going to feature below, are marketed to an audience of children of a certain age. But many times, the Lexile level attached to that book by the publisher is not the appropriate level for the age group of kids that it is marketed to and those expected to be able to read and understand it independently.
Now, many kids can “read” the words but the phrase “Reading is Meaning” is all over our school classrooms. It is absolutely no good to read words when the overall structure of the story is too hard to gain ideas and meaning from those words. Good stories, like the high-quality picture books I use, are rich in vocabulary and literary value, life lessons, good information that arouses curiosity, and all kinds of meaning – both stated and hidden.
This is why I say over and over again that picture books are meant to be read to kids out loud by an adult. My read-aloud guides give you all the ideas and conversation starters you need to make the read a worthwhile experience. The guides also list important words to talk about, reading skills to focus on with activities, crafts, and day trips to enjoy after reading. The guides are easy to use, affordable, and worth a few minutes of preparation on your part. Please try them; it will be worth it – especially if your child needs a little or big boost in reading comprehension. BUY NOW using the links on the right.
In a previous post I gave you a sample of a read-aloud guide using the adorable picture book Mighty, Mighty Construction Site. I am going to provide you with the link here.
Mightly construction site guide PDF
Here is the new companion to this book that I just found. https://www.amazon.com/Construction-Christmas-Sherri-Duskey-Rinker/dp/1452139113/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1542478698&sr=1-3&keywords=mighty+mighty+construction+site
This is a wonderful book and appropriate for this time of year. In the description on amazon.com, it is recommended for children pre-school to Kindergarten (ages 5-6) and the stated Lexile Level is 590.
Well … first of all, I do not think it is developmentally appropriate to expect kids in preschool or kindergarten to be able to read more than simple sentences because many of them are just not ready. Second of all, according to the Scholastic Reading Inventory Lexile Chart above, a book with a Lexile level of 590 is at the very end of 3rd grade.
It has always been my contention that – yes, we need to teach and encourage kids to read at an early age – but “expecting” them to read beyond their developmental readiness is just not right. If they are not individually ready at a certain grade, then they are “watched” and then the kids feel singled out. Then they start to “fall behind” and become “labeled” with a learning disability. And finally, the kids feel “un-smart” and stop believing that they can learn. They balk at homework and start hating to read. And yes – some children indeed have a legitimate learning disability. I think we need to be mindful of kids who might be lagging behind but, at the same time, slow down just a beat. Not all kids walk, talk, potty train, or sit up at the same time and not all kids are ready to read at the same time.
So with all that said, here is what you can do at home. READ TO THEM, READ TO THEM, READ TO THEM. The more kids get in the habit of listening, talking, and acting on books you read to them, the more practice they get at THINKING SMART LIKE GOOD READERS. You can model using the wonderful, quality picture books that I use in my read-aloud guides. I hope you will try the free sample above and decide to buy one. You don’t have a minute to lose because kids grow up fast. Grab your Moment! “Happy Reading!”
Just for a good laugh, check out the hysterical version of a grandmother reading The Wonky Donkey to her grandson. Because of licensing restrictions, I cannot add the direct link, but you can easily find it by going to You Tube and searching for The Wonky Donkey. There is a direct link to purchase the book at amazon.com to the right. Have fun!