In 2013, I'm planning to incorporate more posts about children's literature into My Book Retreat. To start, here's a post I wrote a couple years ago for another blog. I've updated it a bit with some new information and more book recommendations for each level. I hope you find this useful!
When I checked on Google, I found several different ways to categorize the stages of reading development, but I tend to favor this list of Stages of Early Literacy Development:
- Early emergent
- Early fluent
Early emergent readers are developing an understanding of the letters, both upper and lower case, and their relationship to the sounds of spoken language. They are beginning to understand basic concepts of books and print, such as the front/back of a book and where to begin reading. And they are beginning to acquire phonological skills, such as recognizing phonemes, syllables and rhymes.
In this stage, the child relies on pictures and repetitive sentence patterns. There is little text, and it is usually in the same spot on each page. The text is written in large print with wide letter spacing. Books for early emergent readers are kindergarten grade level books, DRA A/1 to 3, Guided Reading Level A-C, Reading a-z level aa-C. In our school system, children are expected to complete the early emergent reading stage by the end of kindergarten. Some of our favorite early emergent books are:
- Green Light Readers: Level 1
- Brand New Readers
- Dick and Jane
- Sight Word Readers (Scholastic)
- Wonder Books Phonics Readers (some)
Emergent readers have a strong understanding of letters and sounds, as well as phonological skills. They also recognize a significant number of sight words. Emergent readers recognize different types of text, including fiction and nonfiction, and understand that reading serves a variety of purposes.
In this stage, the child relies less on pictures and repetitive patterns. Each page has a bit more text on it, and features more complex sentence structure. Books for emergent readers are generally first grade level books, DRA 4-16, Guided Reading Level D-I, Reading a-z level D-J. In our school system, children are expected to complete the emergent reading stage by the end of first grade. Some of our favorite emergent books are:
- Read-It! Readers: Levels Purple through Yellow
- Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems
- The Fly Guy series by Tedd Arnold
- The Cat on the Mat is Flat and The Big Fat Cow that Goes Kapow by Andy Griffiths
- Fox in Sox and The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss
- Syd Hoff books (Stanley, Sammy the Seal, Danny and the Dinosaur, etc.)
- Go, Dog, Go! by P. D. Eastman
Early fluent readers are more focused on comprehension than decoding words. They are beginning to read more smoothly, rather than one word at a time. They easily recognize sight words and no longer stumble over more complex sentences.
- Most Dr. Seuss books
- Henry and Mudge and Annie and Snowball books
- DK Readers Levels 1 and 2
- Magic Tree House series
- Junie B. Jones series
- Rainbow Magic series (some)
Fluent readers are reading to learn rather than learning to read. Their reading is more automatic, with proper pauses and expression. Their reading is much more focused on comprehension.
My son was reading in the fluent level when he was in first grade, so many of these book recommendations are for kids who are in this reading level but at a younger age.
- DK Readers Levels 3 and 4
- Geronimo Stilton graphic novel series
- Rainbow Magic series
- Black Lagoon Adventures series
- Club Penguin Pick Your Path books
- Captain Underpants books
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid series
- Dragonbreath series
- Fudge series by Judy Blume
What are your kids' favorite book series? Please leave a comment if you have other suggestions for each of these reading levels.