Children do read leveled books at school, but that does not mean that they need leveled books over the summer. When children have access to reading materials that they are interested in, can choose for themselves, have a positive reading routine and role models, that is usually enough to avoid the dreaded summer slide.
In early childhood, these experiences ensure that children are exposed to language, enjoy hearing stories, understand that the pictures help tell the story and basic concepts about print. As children get older, they begin to chime-in when they know what comes next in a story they’ve heard before. They notice things by observing and interacting with reading, even if they are not actually doing the reading itself.
First of all, ask yourself if the teacher specifically recommended reading leveled books over the summer. If not, there are programs at local libraries that offer a great change of pace from school, build vocabulary and language experiences with a wide range of books and other resources. If so, the teacher may loan some of your child’s familiar leveled books to you to use over the summer.
About leveled books
There is a multitude of leveled books available today, and they are used for guided reading programs. While there positive reasons for using leveled books, it is important to exercise caution. Please keep the following in mind regarding leveled books at home:
- The leveled books that are generally used in schools are not sold in bookstores, but through sales representatives for publishers and are costly. (Books in the bookstore that have levels on them are normally not leveled in the same systems used for schools)
- Students can progress through some levels fairly quickly, and leveled readers do not become the magical, lifetime favorites that are treasured and passed on from one generation to the next.
- Reading the school’s leveled books on loan can be a great review if done as familiar reading. Reading them at home (because you or someone else borrowed the next level up from your/their school) and having your child struggle through it in the summer does not give him or her an advantage without someone properly trained in guided reading.
- Having too many leveled books at home may crowd out the reading of stories for the sake of just enjoying stories! Very young kids need to be read to more than they need to read themselves. They need to remember why it’s worth learning to read, why stories are so great, to hear the rhythms of language and to know the comfort and magic of story time.
If any leveled reading is done over the summer, it is done in the most positive, fun way possible. Perhaps a teacher may send some familiar books home on loan, or recommend review of personal, paper copies of little readers that were brought home throughout the year.
Some online resources:
A number of TpT sellers offer leveled readers in their stores, some free and some to purchase and download. What I like about this option, is that money that might go to a publishing company in printing costs is eliminated. I like to use the color copy on the iPad for kid-appeal, and print a black and white copy for my students to color if they wish. This provides them with a collection of readers to take home at little cost.
There is also a terrific website used in many schools to supplement their guided reading programs: razkids.com. This site is self-described as an award-winning teaching website that provides comprehensive leveled reading resources for students. If your child has an account through the school already, speak to his or her teacher to get login information to use at home. For more information, please click here to download their brochure. That Fun Reading Teacher is in no way affiliated with razkids.com, just a fan!
Happy Reading this summer!