Previous by DateNext by Date Date Index
Previous by ThreadNext by Thread Thread Index
LM_NET Archive

Carol and others:

As a segue: my background is a Reading Specialist, and based on that
background, I elected to shelve my elementary "Easy" books by reading levels
first, then by the first letter of the author's last name within those
We color coded everything.  i.e.
Wordless or "pre-reading" books had a bright pink label and the first letter
of the authors last name displayed on the top edge/centered front of the
books.  Students at this age are just beginning letter recognition, so the
combination of color and 1st letter seemed the ideal.
Emergent reading level books we called L1 and were bright lime green with
the first letter...

The fact that picture books are often written at a level 5, combined with
limited time for students to choose books, and with my personal philosophy
that students will be more likely to grow to love reading if they are
attempting books with which they have reading success, Leveling those very
primary books was the logical choice for me.  I designed book bins and had
the high school wood working class build six of them to accommodate the
targeted books, thus highlighting the colorful fronts of the books and
helping students begin to unconsciously begin to build a base of prediction
and choosing schema.

I want to stress - Leveling was ONLY for the pre-reading, emergent and
transitional reader.
All chapter books, Picture books written at level 5 and beyond and
non-picture books were shelved in the traditional approved manner.  By third
grade, the majority of our students had transitioned to these areas of the
library media center.
Most (appx. 90%) of the teachers, all of the students and the parents who
bothered to ask reported a preference for our leveled solution over the

I'm sure many of you are asking yourselves how we decided on which level the
books should be placed, and that was a huge job that took a very long time.
My wonderful assistant and series of dedicated volunteers worked on this
over two years!
First, we pulled all the "I Can Read" type books and labeled them based on
whatever the commercial publishers had used.
Next, because we were an AR school we pulled all the books for which we had
AR quizzes (I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding the leveling -
but this is what we decided was better than what we had before).
Thirdly, we used a variety of other means: Some volunteers used the AR site
to look up levels for books that had quizzes available, but we didn't own;
if the quiz wasn't available, we looked on assorted book vendors sites for
levels (Mackin, Econoclad, etc...), if there was no level or the book was
not found they put it aside for me to level.
Finally, the books that made it into my list I either used the "Quick"
Flesch-Kincaid 300 word leveling option in Word, or the traditional leveling
techniques I learned in college.


Brook Berg, Media Specialist
Detroit Lakes Middle School
500 11th Ave.
Detroit Lakes, MN 56501

All LM_NET postings are protected by copyright law.
To change your LM_NET status, e-mail to:
In the message write EITHER: 1) SIGNOFF LM_NET  2) SET LM_NET NOMAIL
3) SET LM_NET MAIL  4) SET LM_NET DIGEST  * Allow for confirmation.
LM_NET Help & Information:
LM_NET Select/EL-Announce:
LM_NET Supporters:

LM_NET Mailing List Home