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Understand Different Reading Levels: Tips for Parents

Reading Comprehension Tutor Dexter

Understand different reading levels, this is one of the most important things you can do. As a parent, you want your child to excel in their reading abilities. These levels can help you identify your child’s current reading proficiency and track their progress.

Reading Level Chart

Reading LevelDescription
Level 1: Emergent ReadingChildren who are just starting to learn to read.
Level 2: Early ReadingChildren become more confident and independent in their reading skills, recognizing more sight words and developing phonemic awareness.
Level 3: Transitional ReadingChildren are becoming more proficient readers and developing a deeper understanding of the texts they read.
Level 4: Independent ReadingChildren have gained significant reading proficiency, can read a wide range of books independently, and use reading as a tool to learn and explore the world around them.
Level 5: Advanced ReadingChildren have a firm grasp of reading, can easily read complex texts, synthesize information from multiple sources and apply it to new situations.

Whether traditional schools or tutoring programs, educational institutions can give reading assessments to help pinpoint these levels. As a parent, you can do so too. This article will explore the different reading levels and provide tips for parents to support their child’s development.

Level 1: Emergent Reading

The first reading level is Emergent Reading. This level is typically associated with children who are just starting to learn to read. At this stage, children are learning to identify letters, their sounds, and how they form words. They are also learning to recognize basic sight words, such as “the” and “a.” Emergent readers may also recognize the beginning and ending sounds of words.

Parents can support their child’s development at this level by reading with them regularly. This can include reading simple books with repetitive text or practicing sight words. It is important to make reading enjoyable for your child and celebrate their progress as they learn.

Another way to support your child’s reading development at this stage is by providing them with various books. At the beginning stages of reading, children typically start with simple texts that contain pictures and basic vocabulary. As they progress, they move on to more complex books with longer sentences and paragraphs.

Encouraging your child to read independently at this stage is crucial, but it is equally important to continue reading with them regularly. According to research, reading with young children has numerous cognitive and socio-emotional benefits. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) conducted a study that found that reading aloud to children from a young age can positively impact language development, cognitive skills, and socio-emotional development (AAP, 2014).

When reading with your child, you provide guidance and support to help them improve their reading skills. You can also ask them questions about the books they are reading, which can aid in developing their comprehension skills. For instance, you can ask them to summarize the story, identify the main characters, or predict what might happen next.

Level 2: Early Reading

The second reading level is Early Reading. This is an exciting time for children and their parents. This reading level marks a significant milestone in a child’s literacy journey. Children are becoming more confident and independent in their reading skills at this level. They are starting to recognize more sight words, and their phonemic awareness is developing. Phonemic awareness is the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds in words. This skill is critical in helping children decode and understand words as they read.

Parents play a crucial role in supporting their child’s development at the Early Reading level. Parents can do this by providing their children with various books to read. Children at this level need books that are simple and easy to read. Books with repetitive language, rhyme, and predictable patterns are beneficial. These types of books help children develop their decoding and comprehension skills.

Encouraging your child to practice independent reading is also essential at this level. Children must practice reading independently to develop fluency and build confidence in their reading abilities. However, it is vital to continue to read with your child regularly. Reading with your child allows you to model good reading habits, such as reading with expression and pausing at punctuation.

As children begin to read independently, they may encounter unfamiliar words. Parents can help their children develop strategies for decoding these words. One approach is to use context clues. Context clues are the words and sentences that surround an unfamiliar word that can help a child figure out its meaning. Encourage your child to think about the story’s context and what is happening in the text to help them decode unfamiliar words.

Another way parents can support their child’s development at the Early Reading level is by asking questions about the books they are reading. Asking questions helps children develop their comprehension skills. Comprehension is the ability to understand what you are reading. Some comprehension questions parents can ask include:

  • What was the story about?
  • Who were the main characters?
  • What happened in the beginning, middle, and end?
  • How did the story make you feel?

By asking these types of questions, parents can help their child develop their ability to understand and analyze what they are reading.

Level 3: Transitional Reading

The third reading level is Transitional Reading. This is a critical stage in a child’s reading development as they move from reading simple books to more complex ones.  Children at this stage are more confident in their reading abilities and are becoming more proficient readers. They are no longer struggling with basic decoding skills and are beginning to develop a deeper understanding of the texts they read.

At this stage, children are reading longer and more complex books independently. They are also starting to use a wider range of reading strategies, including making predictions and using context clues to determine unfamiliar words’ meanings. Children are at or around third grade at this level. They are really starting to develop their comprehension skills, which include summarizing what they have read, making connections between the text and their own experiences, and drawing conclusions based on what they have read.

To support their child’s reading development at this stage, parents can continue to provide a variety of books for their child to read.  A study by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that children who have access to a wide range of books and are encouraged to read independently develop stronger reading skills (APA, 2018).

It is essential to encourage children to read independently, but parents should also continue to read with their children and discuss the books they are reading. This will help children to develop their comprehension skills, and it will also provide opportunities for parents to model good reading behaviors.

Just like the other stages of reading, parents can ask their children questions about the books they are reading. Two additional strategies parents can encourage their child to employ is to make predictions about what will happen next in the story, which will help them to develop their inferential skills. The other is for parents to ask their children to summarize what they have read and make connections between the book and their experiences. This will help children develop their summarizing skills and deepen their understanding of the text. 

Level 4: Independent Reading

The fourth reading level is Independent Reading. Here children have gained a significant amount of reading proficiency. They can read a wide range of books independently and are confident in their reading abilities. This level is the ultimate goal of reading instruction because it allows children to use reading as a tool to learn and explore the world around them.

Children at this level can read and comprehend complex texts with ease. They can analyze and interpret what they have read and draw conclusions based on the information presented in the text. They have a solid foundation of reading skills, including phonics, decoding, sight word recognition, and comprehension.

To support your child’s development at this level, it is important to encourage them to read widely and explore different genres. Children should be allowed to choose the books they want to read and encouraged to read for pleasure.

Parents can also challenge their children to read books outside their comfort zone. This will help them to continue to develop their skills and build their vocabulary. Encourage your child to read non-fiction books, biographies, and books on a variety of topics. This will help expand their knowledge and understanding of the world.

Level 5: Advanced Reading

The fifth reading level is Advanced Reading. Advanced Reading is the highest level of reading proficiency that children can achieve. At this level, children have a firm grasp of reading and can easily read complex texts. They can also understand and analyze the content of the texts in-depth, synthesize information from multiple sources, and apply it to new situations.

Children at this level may be preparing for college or advanced academic work.

According to a National Endowment for the Arts study, “To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence,” advanced reading is positively correlated with academic achievement (NEA, 2007). The study found that students who read at an advanced level are more likely to perform better on standardized tests and have higher school grades.

Furthermore, a study by the National Center for Education Statistics found that reading ability in advanced reading is closely linked to success in the workforce. Individuals with high reading proficiency are more likely to have higher-paying jobs and to be employed in professional and managerial positions (NCES, 2016). 

Therefore, parents need to continue supporting their child’s reading development. Encouraging children to read all types of texts is crucial at this level. Non-fiction and academic texts are essential for developing analytical skills and preparing children for higher education.

Parents can also support their child’s development by encouraging them to participate in book clubs or discussion groups. These activities can help children develop their analytical skills and engage in critical thinking.

Additionally, providing opportunities for children to write about what they have read can help them to synthesize information and develop their writing skills.

Remember that children may progress through these levels at different rates and that some children may require additional support or intervention to develop their reading skills. However, by providing reading strategies to children such as having a variety of books, encouraging them to read independently, and continuing to read and discuss books with them, parents can help support their child’s reading development at any level.