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Here’s What Your Child's Reading Level Means

what is my child's reading level

We answer the most common questions about reading levels, including how to determine a reading level, why it's important and what it means for your child.

Finding suitable books for your child is very important. Books that are too difficult may cause frustration and discouragement, while books that are too easy can sometimes be boring.

The best way to support a confident lifelong reader is by choosing texts that are appropriately matched to their reading ability. This is where reading levels come into play.

Here are five things you should know about reading levels, and what your child's reading level means for them:

1. Why is my child's reading level important?

Reading levels provide a measurement that considers the individual child. Your child's reading level is informed by a series of assessments administered and evaluated by teaching staff. Knowing your child's reading level helps you find texts that are most suitable for them to read independently at home.

Choosing the right books for your child helps them build their reading confidence at their own pace and encourages them to read for both meaning and enjoyment.

2. How can my child's reading level be measured?

One of the most widely used systems for reading level assessment is the Lexile Framework for Reading. The Lexile Framework determines your child's reading level based on assessments, rather than general age or grade levels. It is an independent measure that looks at the difficulty of words and sentences, as well as the complexity of ideas presented and level of comprehension.

The Lexile measure is shown as a number with an 'L' after it, for example, 880L is an 880 Lexile. Students complete a reading test to determine their Lexile reader measure.

Higher Lexile measures indicate a higher reading level. A Lexile reader measure can range from below 200L for beginner readers to above 1600L for advanced readers.

3. What level should my child be reading at in each grade?

There is no direct correspondence between a specific Lexile measure and a specific grade level.

Children learn to read at their own pace. Within any classroom or grade, there will usually be a range of readers and reading material to cater to different reading abilities.

Grade or age equivalent scores are helpful in estimating your child's grade level performance but should never be interpreted literally.

It can be easy to become too embroiled in what reading level your child is on, particularly in comparison to others in their class. But this can lead to children feeling pressured to “catch up” and eventually discouraged from reading altogether.

4. How do I find out about my child's reading level?

Reading level assessments are usually carried out in your child's school. You can ask your child's teacher what their reading level is and to recommend an appropriate reading list for them.

If you can't find out your child's reading level through school, you can still choose suitable books for them using the Five Finger Rule.

5. How can I find books that match my child's reading level?

Consult your child's teacher or ask your local librarian to recommend books that suit your child's reading level. ABC Reading Eggs also contains over 3000 e‑books in the ABC Reading Eggspress Library which are arranged by reading age and Lexile level. Your child can complete a placement test to determine his or her estimated reading age and reading level.

Remember, parents play a vital role in creating a love of reading in their children. Pressuring them to rush through reading levels can be detrimental to their progress and overall confidence.

Always keep in mind that reading levels only serve to determine your child's “just right” level in order to find the books that will pave their way towards steady progress and, ultimately, a lifelong love of reading.

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