How do I know the Reading Levels of stories?

Finding the correct Reading Level for a child is like finding her the right size of shoes – it needs to be ‘just right.’ We link levels to the child’s reading development, since we know 10-year-olds who are most comfortable with a Level 1 story, as well as 6-year-olds who can read Level 3 stories effortlessly. This happens across languages, too, as kids have different fluencies in different languages.

Guidelines for choosing reading levels

Level 1 – Beginning to Read

Easy words, word repetition

Short sentences, less than 5 on a page

Text and pictures should support each other

Big fonts

Rhyme and rhythm

Word range: 0 to 250

Simple text, familiar words, word repetition

Few words or a sentence per page

High degree of illustration support

Word range: Up to 50 words

Level 2 – Learning to Read

Simple concepts (especially in non-fiction)

Stories with linear, engaging plots

Word range: 250 to 600

Level 3 – Reading Independently

Longer sentences

Popular topics (adventure, mystery, etc)

Well sketched-out characters

Word range: 600 to 1500

Level 4 – Reading Proficiently

Complex plots

Longer, more nuanced stories

Rich vocabulary, Language play (metaphors, similes, etc.)

Word range: 1500+