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I think our profession needs a committee or a doctorial student to do some
research into Reading Levels.  If thoughtfully written, adult materials are
mostly written at say an 8th grade reading level, than that should be what
is considered a mastery level for high school readers.  We also need to
distinguish between reading levels for non fiction and fiction.  Very easy
non fiction books tend to have higher grade reading levels based on the
computer's count of frequency of words.  The misuse of reading levels by
teachers and librarians seems to be doing huge damage to our students and
library programs.  I would love to know where all this "leveling" is coming
from.  I don't blame AR and RC-books have had reading levels in them for
years.  I blame us and teachers for selling out our professional evaluations
of "reading levels" to computers.  Where is the research to support all this
leveling? Perhaps it is effective for early readers, but how do we know it
is effective once the reading level advances to say 6th or 7th grade?  I
will get down off my soap box now!

Vicki Sherouse, Librarian
Sentinel High School
Missoula, Montana

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