Books and Stories

Many young children come to school with a great deal of knowledge about books and print by virtue of having been read to thousands of times over the years; other children are not as fortunate.

Research tells us that those children who have been read to frequently in the preschool years are off to a stronger start than children who have not had such experiences and that early gains tend to be maintained throughout children’s school careers.

Young children love to hear familiar stories read to them over and over again. The child’s memory for the story becomes so strong that if a hapless reader were to skip a page, he/she would be corrected immediately by an indignant young listener.

Some young children, having heard the same story countless times, have it so well memorized that they can almost repeat it verbatim. If the listener didn’t know better, he/she might suppose the child was actually reading the text. These are recognizable milestones along the way to becoming a conventional reader.

Activities for Learning about Books and Stories

Parents and educators in children’s early years are encouraged to:

  • Read to children every day. Make reading time a pleasurable time for everyone. Enjoy the stories together and talk about them.
  • Families may enjoy a family read-aloud of a chapter book (e.g., The Boxcar Children, Charlotte’s Web).
  • Take children to the public library or school library regularly. Help them sign up for their own library cards.
  • Give children the freedom to choose books they want to check out for themselves, while also making recommendations of books they might like.
  • Reread old favorites-over and over and over….
  • Consult the American Library Association (ALA) web site for lists of good books, videotapes, recordings and other children’s resources recommended by the Association for Library Service to Children.
  • Check out free programs for children at the library, such as puppet shows, storytime, and summer reading programs.
  • Let children see you read for information and enjoyment. Talk about things you have read whenever appropriate.
  • Provide access to a wealth of literature, from storybooks to information books and magazines for children. Find a special place for these materials, so that children can select them at will.
  • Provide access to tapes of classic children’s stories and songs.
  • Give books as gifts.

Long before children become readers in the conventional sense, they are acquiring important learning about books and stories. They

  • Hear new vocabulary
  • Learn new concepts and information
  • Develop understandings about the language that is used in books
  • Learn the ways in which books and stories are organized.
  • And as they question and talk about the things that are read to them, children further develop their ability to comprehend language.

Activities for Sharing Books and Stories

  • Read to children on a frequent, regular basis and talk about the pictures, the story, interesting words and sounds.
  • Go to story hour at the local library; have children participate in summer library programs.
  • Visit the library to search for books on topics related to children’s interests. and experiences; check out informational books as well as storybooks.
  • Find age-appropriate books to share with children:
    • Simple board books with a picture or two on a page for infants and toddlers
    • Short little books with a brief sentence or phrase on a page for toddlers and twos
    • Simple stories for children age three
    • Longer stories for children age four and up
  • Remember that young children may not sit through a whole book; their attention may be drawn to an interesting picture or to a particular idea, and they may not be ready or willing to listen to the story line. Follow the child’s lead, and don’t worry if you haven’t read the book from cover to cover.
  • Be prepared to read and reread and read yet again those favorite, often-requested stories; every time a child hears a well-loved story, he/she learns something new about language.
  • Read and learn nursery rhymes; recite them along with children.
  • Encourage children to play with the language. Read books by Bill Martin, Jr., such as Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom. Make up your own words to familiar songs (the sillier the better!).

Leveled Books Code

The leveled books code is a system of organizing books by reading difficulty defined by grade level. In the table below the grade level column is read by grade and month in a school year beginning in August or September.

For example 1.2 reads grade one, month two of the school year; 2.8 is second grade eighth month of the school year.

Level Books are coded by two systems. The Reading Recovery system uses numbers while the Guided Reading system uses letters to do the same thing: that is, to define a book’s level of reading difficulty, beginning with “reading readiness” and going through Grade 5.

The Level Books database is a database developed by the Beaverton, Oregon School District that is searchable by various criteria. You can search by English title, Spanish title, publisher, author, subject keyword, reading strand, Guided Reading level, and Reading Recovery level.

Grade Level
Reading Recovery Level
Guided Reading Level
Readiness
1.0
1
A
1.0
2
B

Pre-Primer
1.0
3
1.1
4
C

1.1
5
1.1
6
D

1.2
7
1.2
8
E

Primer
1.3
9
1.3
10
F

1.4
11
1.4
12
G

1.5
13
1.5
14
H

1.6
15
1.7
16
I

1.8
17
1.9
18
J

Grade 2
2.0
19
2.1
20
K
2.2-2.3
2.4-2.5
L
2.6-2.7
2.8-2.9
M

Grade 3
3.0-3.3
N
3.4-3.6
O
3.7-3.9
P

Grade 4
4.0-4.5
Q
4.5-4.9
R

Grade 5
S