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How do you know your child's reading level?

I've wondered this for a while and just did an internet search. I found some word lists and simple stories to use, they were a little strange though because they would have some harder words in the lower lists and some very simple words in the higher lists (my son is finishing up kindergarten, so by "higher" I mean 3rd/4th grade) Do you use word lists like these, or some other way of determining it? It appears by these lists that he is at an early 1st grade level, which is right were he should be, but I wonder about it because he still sounds out every single word, he doesn't look at words and immediately recognize them except for sight words like I, a, the, etc. so his reading doesn't flow, it's choppy. Is that ok?


Asked by mybella81 at 9:38 AM on Jun. 28, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 17 (4,022 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • Teachers will conduct a number of reading fluency assessments throughout the year, and based on the number of words he is able to read in a set amount of time--usuallly 1-3 minutes, minus any errors--ie:: skipping or mispronouncing words, he will be given a score. That score will then give him a "grade equivalent." HOWEVER, many school districts and done away with "grade equivalents, and letter grades" because of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) laws, that GW Bush implemented. So children are more often graded against themselves and their improvements are what is really graded and what teachers want to see.

    The MOST important factor in reading fluency is being able to talk about what you just read--comprehension remains to be THE number one issue with most children! It's better to be a slower reader who makes less errors and has good comprehension skills, than a fast reader, who doesn't. :o)

    Answer by LoriKeet at 9:45 AM on Jun. 28, 2010

  • All of the books in our school library are rated by grade level, so I go by that. For example, my daughter was in first grade last year and often read 3.4 or 3.6 books without too much trouble, so she is reading at about a third grade level. Also, the first grade teachers told all parents at the beginning of the school year where the students were expected to be by the end of the year, and they used a rubric to determine reading grade based on proficiency and speed.

    Answer by andrea96 at 9:48 AM on Jun. 28, 2010

  • OP--then I recommend looking for the Spectrum series math and reading workbooks. I know you can get them at most "parent-teacher" stores and Barnes and Nobel. They are arranged by traditional grade levels, and they contain self tests along with answer keys. I would start with the 1st grade book, and if your son seems to "zip through" the book getting all of the answers correct (including some of your own!), then get the 3rd grade book, and see if he is able to complete any of the work there. If not, hold on to the book and pick up the 2nd grade book, and take it from there,

    I guess each school district is different, but I thought that even homeschoolers, had to assess their children (at home) and submit their childrens scores to their school district, to make sure they really are being taught appropriately or within the standard equivalencies?

    Answer by LoriKeet at 9:57 AM on Jun. 28, 2010

  • ditto to Lori - I use the schools test scores to see where my daughter is at

    Answer by Mommy_0f_many at 9:46 AM on Jun. 28, 2010

  • Thanks, to make it more specific I'm homeschooling, so I don't have a teacher or school to do this for me. I try to ask comprehension questions although I'm not really sure what to ask. For example after he reads something I'll ask "who was this about?" "what happened to him/her?" "how did s/he feel about that?" Etc. All the questions seem so obvious, but I don't know what else to ask.

    Comment by mybella81 (original poster) at 9:50 AM on Jun. 28, 2010

  • Thanks LoriKeet, homeschooling laws are different in every state. Michigan is very leniant, I think it may actually be the easiest state to homeschool in. I don't have to tell anyone or submit anything. It's nice, but a little concerning at the same time because I think legally someone could do nothing and claim to be homeschooling, although I doubt very many people would actually do that.

    Comment by mybella81 (original poster) at 10:04 AM on Jun. 28, 2010

  • Texas is the same way. If anyone says they are homeschooling, then that's the end of the subject, even if they aren't doing a darned thing.

    Back to the question though - "grade level" reading numbers don't really mean very much. Alot of parents get ally hyped up that their 7 year-old is reading "at a sixth grade level" or whatever, but since all the leveling tests are different, there's very little consistency. The important thing is to make sure that your son is continuing to improve in his reading skills and is comprehending what he reads. It's also important to continue to read TO your child (chapter books at this age) so that their comprehension can continue to grow faster than their actual decoding, since it's comprehension that matters most in the later years and is the hardest to "teach".

    My soon-to-be first grader is about where your son is right now!

    Answer by DDDaysh at 4:49 PM on Jun. 28, 2010