An Overview of Leveled Reading Systems

Looking for information about leveled reading systems? Well, we have you covered. In this article, we will provide you will a brief overview of leveled reading systems.

Grade Level Equivalent

The Grade Level Equivalent denotes the readability of the text by grade. It is a manifestation of the grade level at which a learner reading on-grade could read the book independently. For instance, a learner who is in the first month of 4th grade and reading on-grade would be matched to a book with a Reading Level of 4.1. Each grade level has a .1 to .9 range.

Guided Reading Level

The guided reading level system gives a  precise literacy level for books. This alphabetic system has many levels within each grade level. For example, grade 2 is equivalent to guided literacy levels J through M. This allows you to tailor your reading program accurately to a wide range of reading capabilities. Each book is carefully assessed before being leveled, and educator input is considered in the leveling process.

The Lexile Framework® for Reading

The Lexile Framework, a better numerical filter, assesses a book’s difficulty and matches reader ability and content difficulty based on the numeric Lexile scale. This system from education assessment company MetaMetrics targets books on the right literacy level for the kid’s ability. It is predicated on an algorithm that measures vocabulary and sentence length.


Developmental Reading Assessment is a reading assessment tool that identifies students’ independent literacy levels in grades K–8. Using the DRA numerical scale, you can assess reading accuracy, fluency, and comprehension. Learners are near, at, or above grade level, below grade level, or significantly below grade level. Once you know the learner’s DRA score, you can match that score with books appropriately.

Grade Level

Filtering books by grade level is a coherent system. If you utilize a basal series to teach reading, you probably utilize this system. If you’re looking for science books for a unit of study, a grade level search is precise enough.

Reading Recovery

Reading Recovery is a one-on-one remediation program designed to supplement reading instruction for learners in grades K–2 who are slow to read. You can compare Reading Recovery and guided literacy levels; Reading Recovery levels have limited usefulness when used by themselves.

Unleveled books

If you can’t identify a level for a book, compare it to similar leveled books. Remember, you will need to assess whether a book is developmentally appropriate for a given learner or group. For example, just because a young learner can read a book about the Holocaust does not mean the subject is appropriate for that learner. Another example is a book written in slang may be difficult for learners to comprehend.

Concluding thoughts

Observe your unique learners, the subject matter, your colleagues, and your learners’ parents. Be flexible and trust your judgment. A well-informed educator who understands leveling systems and knows their learners will make wise choices about books.