Hello- When I hear about 'levels' I think of 'sight word' based books (I'll explain in a bit). I will also say that it may vary slightly where you live. I was a reading teacher and in our district we wanted entering first graders at a level 3/4 (Brown Bear, Brown bear), Nov. at a level 6 (Look for me, The Chick and the Duckling), Feb. a level 12 (The Carrot Seed) and by the end of the year a level 16 (Kiss for Little Bear). We used an assessment kit that provided books for each level that are not on the market, because it had to be a 'cold' read (so the books mentioned are samples of that level) and then they had to answer basic questions about the story.
I did say levels reminds me of sight word based books, because in the beginning students are not taught all the sound spellings in phonics- but we expect them to read it (such as in Brown Bear- level 4, color words are often taught as sight words so they can read more than cvc words; in ps 'ow' is not taught until later first or second grade).
We also would assess on the phonics survey- again this may vary slightly on exactly where you live and what you use but I'm just going to share this anyway. Follow this link:http://www.hershey.k...Survey_2008.pdf
If it does not work just search "Hershey Phonics Survey" and it would get you there.
But on this assessment we considered kids passed each level when they reached 80% proficiency at each level. By the end of Kindergarten we wanted them at level E (12 out of 15). By the end of 1st grade level I (12 out of 15) and by the end of 2nd grade level L (20 out of 24 I think).
But that is ps and you'll have to make your best judgement from there. All my kids have been different- first one "ahead", my son "behind' and now my third "right on track". Hope it helps some!