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s/o reading fluency, tools to determine reading level


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From another thread, Siloam posted:


Independent reading level: 2 words missed in 100

Instructional reading level: 3-5 words missed in 100

Frustration level: 5 or more words missed in 100


Fluency comes by reading stuff at the independent level. I generally keep two level of readers going one at their instructional level, then a year or more later I bring those books back for them to read for fluency.



I think this is wonderful advice but I have a couple of questions (for Heather and everyone else who has input).


How exactly do you choose books at a certain instructional level? Above a 4th or 5th grade level, this has gotten harder for me to determine what books will be instructional level is, vs. frustration level. And sometimes frustration level seems to have as much to do with print size as it does with word difficulty.


Do you use tools like the Scholastic Book Wizard, or are there other tools available online?


Does anyone have a list to share for a progression of books?


More specifically, I have a 3rd grade son. I have no idea at what level he reads. The SL 3 readers we are using for school are easy for him to read, and I am okay with that. He reads the Bible independently, NIV. The read alouds are also easy for him, thus far (I do read them to him, but I have had him read a page alone here and there). But he's hard on himself and if I mistakenly hand him something that is way over his head, he will become very frustrated and talk badly about himself.

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I will say this just for others that are reading the thread that print size can make a difference. My son loved to read and the eye doctor noticed he had eye tracking issues along with discovering he was farsighted. He gave him glasses but since his grades were good and he was a voracious reader, he just watched it as he said sometimes children will grow out of it . Around 5th, though the print got A LOT smaller on the books and he just couldn't keep his place and so we did some vision therapy for him. I had been happy with his test scores being in the 70 to 80 percentile and thought he just wasn't a good test taker. After vision therapy, he scored in the high 90's and his math scores went up some as well. He just did some programs on the computer as he wasn't a severe case, but it did help. It also made me recognize some of the signs in a much more severe way with my daughter. Anyway, check vision issues because when the print gets smaller, far sightedness becomes more apparant.



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I think this is wonderful advice but I have a couple of questions (for Heather and everyone else who has input).

BTW that information was from Ruth Beechick's A Home Start in Reading, just to give credit where credit is due. :D


How exactly do you choose books at a certain instructional level? Above a 4th or 5th grade level, this has gotten harder for me to determine what books will be instructional level is, vs. frustration level. And sometimes frustration level seems to have as much to do with print size as it does with word difficulty.


Hmmm, well generally I have specific stuff I use that are graded reader, and until I am done with those I don't have them do a lot of reading outside of it.


For example Honey Dew, my 4th grader was a late reader, so she is still working through the Advanced Readers by I See Sam. At this point she has taken enough of a leap in reading that these are probably more at her independent level than instruction level, but we haven't finished them and she has dyslexic issues with switching words around that I am still working with her on. At the same time she is finishing up the Tween readers from I See Sam, which are very easy for her. Those are her fluency readers. She also has a stack of level 2 and 3 readers that she is reading through, I think 10 mins a day. On her own she is also reading the Warrior series by Erin Hunter. These I think are 7th grade level and probably close to her frustration level. She is just a cat lover and determined to read them anyway. As long as it is her choice I am not going to stop her.


I haven't' had her start any history, science or literature reading and won't till she finishes the BRI readers. All my kids have jumped ahead of my instruction so I haven't had to overly worry about their reading ability towards the end, especially because I use a phonics heavy spelling program, which will continues to help their reading.


My general philosophy is to keep it easy if at all in doubt. Thus my 7th grader will finally move up to D level in TOG around Christmas. My 5th grader is still doing Lower Grammar and my Lower grammar student isn't' doing any. Though TOG is high in volume, if I were to do less, then it would be easier to move up at the grade levels WTM recommends. I would just rather my kids enjoy their reading, so anything I see it getting to them I back off and keep it easy.


I don't use online tools much since I started TOG, but I used to use this one quite a bit. They changed over to the letter system about the time I started TOG, so I would be lost using it now.


For finding out where is reading level is I recommend DIBELS. It is free if you sign up here. Part of the site is by payment only, and it is hard to find the free sign up page, so I linked it. It will allow you to print out material for 3rd grade and time your child's reading and comprehension to get a big picture as to where they are at.


It sounds to me like he is doing great! For SL books the grade levels are all listed in the catalog, so you can peek at that before handing him the read alouds. You could consider buying him an over the counter pair of reading glasses for when he wants to read small print. I know it sounds bad, but when I had my 2nd dd evaluated by a COVD specialist they put her in bifocals to make reading easier. She hated them, because she loves picture books and the bifocals do funny things to big pictures. They told me just to run down and buy a pair of reading glasses instead, because that is all they were doing with the bifocals, enlarging the print. Does he read in odd positions? Complain about the words moving? Want only to read in extremely low or bright light? Those can be indications of a problem behind the scenes, either with vision or processing. For example I am a visual dyslexic, and I always read with the page close to me, and in low lighting. As it turns out I have a processing problem that causes white spaces to be glaring and around the edges of the words there is blurring like a bad photo copy. The basic premise is I see different colors at different speeds instead of like normal people, all at the same speed. It isn't vision based because I have had times on the computer where I couldn't read part of the print (because it was white) but on another part of the pageI could read the print because it was red letting. I do best with blue and red tones and especially good with purple tones. I have the most problems with white and yellow.


His getting frustrated will have to be something you work on. My 2nd dd is much the same way because big sis seems to have so many things she does better at. Truth is she has just as many things she is strong in she just doesn't see it becuase she is used to doing better in those areas. She focuses on the areas that are harder for her. I have to take the time to re-train her thinking and reminder her what she is good at and to keep working on what she is good at, but not as good as big sis. Though she just took a big jump in reading ability and isn't as self conscience any more, so there is hope. :D



Edited by siloam
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Thank you both! I really appreciate it.


I have had his vision checked and he doesn't need glasses. I know that visual processing is something different. I have looked at the COVD site and he doesn't seem to have any of the symptoms. I had never heard of the bifocals for small print, for children. I will have to think about that. It does seem like most newer children's books, even those for the 9-12 year old range, have slightly larger print than adult books, and maybe there's a reason for that. Ds is fine with that type of print, it is when we take out the older books on the shelf, and classics I have from my childhood that have smaller print, that he is more likely to balk.


I may give him the DIBELS just to see. It doesn't look like that will tell me a reading level, but I could give him the test for a couple of grades above to see what grade level he is on track for. Thanks for the links!

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