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How do you know at what level your kids are reading?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Many times people refer to their kids as "reading at a 3rd grade level" or whatever. How do you know this? Is it based on the type of books they're reading or the curriuclum you're using or some type of test?

Just curious, really.....
post #2 of 28
I think most people who talk about the level their kids are reading at have done some sort of testing of their children. There are tons of achievement tests you can buy, like CAT and such, but also lots of free placement tests you can download. K-12 has pretty in depth ones, and several curriculum companies have tests, too.
At least for us its not based on the books he's reading and we don't use a reading curriculum.
post #3 of 28
I would assume that in the next year or so I will know based on the times that she reads readers that have a grade level stamped on the cover.
post #4 of 28
I think they're sometimes just noticing what a child can comfortably read, and they recognize those things as what some 3rd graders around them are reading. At least I always hope that's all it is. Lillian

post #5 of 28
I had an idea based on books and words dd could read on her own. We also did a quick reading assessment which confirmed my idea of where she was at.

http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/articles/060899.htm
post #6 of 28
Okay, okay! So maybe its not MOST homeschoolers do assessment tests- maybe I'm just in the wrong crowd!
Really, I was shocked for quite some time about how many and how often people around here test their kids, and worse, how much they talk about it! Now it all seems normal... you wanna know my kid's scores?
post #7 of 28
In my state the testing is required to be done yearly.
post #8 of 28
Every once in a while if I get curious I just google Accelerated Reader database and plugged in the titles of books my kids were reading easily for enjoyment. For instance, my youngest loves the Boxcar Children books. They're listed in AR databases as having grade level equivalents of 2.9 to about 4.3. So that puts her reading level at about 3rd grade.

Miranda
post #9 of 28
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post #10 of 28
I have wondered the same thing.

I do look up some of the ratings on books - because I am curious. My eldest is grade 1. I will assume by the time the fourth is in Grade 1 - I won't be anywhere near concerned with levels.

I do think, though, it is key to say that if a child is reading at a 2.5 level (i.e. 2nd grade) that is the 'average' kiddo in public school. (My kids go to public school - so not bashing it, I love it). I am not sure that average is necessarily an achievement. It is a good benchmark to see if a child is behind that average and thus requires a different approach.

However, suggesting that my Grade 1 child, who easily reads a 2.5 level book means that she reads at a grade 2 level and thus is advance is a bit of a silly assumption. I would expect my bright (not at all gifted), hard working, loves to curl up and read with me to be reading at that level given how she manages her other work.

The levels are fun - but not necessarily reflective of much unless your child is struggling an behind the curve or so substantially way out in front that it requires a different plan..
post #11 of 28
We have required annual testing in our state. Also, because we're in a parent partnership program, they do map (?) testing, which tells what level they're reading at.

When dd was young for required testing, a friend who is a teacher saw what book dd was reading, and asked her a couple of questions and said she was 4th grade level.

I don't really care much about the level, but that's how we know.
post #12 of 28
I have been tracking DS's reading level almost since he started reading. Why? Partly curiosity, to see how he compared to "average" -- not for judgment, but just to see where his strengths lie. If I know he's a "gifted" reader I'll encourage that side of his development. If I know he's a "struggling" reader then I'll relax and not push things but find ways to gently help, perhaps.

I've also used it to track his progress... to see when he's gone through reading plateaus, when he's jumped levels, etc. Again a lot of it is just curiosity, but it's also helpful in seeing how his overall development is progressing.

It's also helpful in finding appropriate reading material. If he's 7 but reading at a 9yo level, I know I can get a "4th grade" book and it won't be beyond him (at least in difficulty, though not always in content!)

I've used the Schonell reading test, which is quick and easy and he gets a kick out of doing it, every 4 months or so, and he's excited when he realizes one of the words he previously couldn't figure out, he now knows. It doesn't give "grade level" but gives "reading age".

I certainly wouldn't obsess about it. And despite my description, I actually don't lol... But I do find it a useful tool.
post #13 of 28
i have used the sonlight reading placement test with my dd before:

http://www.sonlight.com/quick-reading-assessment.html

it seems pretty accurate imo.
post #14 of 28
Just a few thoughts from my own experience... I had no reason to think my son was a natural reader as he was growing up, but I just encouraged his love of literature by reading a lot to him - books we both loved a lot. He would often refer to books to get information out of - I kept a lot of good ones around - but wasn't interested in reading fiction on his own for pleasure - that was something we did together, with me reading aloud. When he had vision therapy at age 12, his own independent reading for pleasure really took off, and he became a voracious reader because he loved what he could find in books. So I guess what I'm getting at is that I think it's all the same - if a child learns through exposure about what books can offer, he'll eventually just take it from there. - Lillian
post #15 of 28
Well . . .the school DD is at (for just 2 more weeks!) tested her in several ways. I've had discussions (on MDC) about this before, and the general consensus was that there really is no absolute level.

I think the estimated level is pretty important in a classroom setting (where a child is working significantly above or below the expectations for that grade), so that the child will be given what he/she needs. In a HS situation, I'd think it is mostly irrelevant, unless one would have concerns about a child (an issue needing pro help).

I think it might be helpful when YOU (not your child) want to select books for him/her, too. http://www.lexile.com/findabook/StudentInfo.aspx

Lillian, my DD needed VT as well, but oddly, her problems (convergence insufficiency and something else I can never remember) seemingly did not affect her reading . . .the optometrist was shocked.
post #16 of 28
At the begining of this year (first formal year) we did the DORA test. cheap, easy, painless and helpful.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizelenius View Post
Lillian, my DD needed VT as well, but oddly, her problems (convergence insufficiency and something else I can never remember) seemingly did not affect her reading . . .the optometrist was shocked.
That's interesting! What was it that got you to have her vision checked?

- Lillian
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post


That's interesting! What was it that got you to have her vision checked?

- Lillian
She started telling us that she could see through things . . .double vision . . .and that is what prompted us to take her to the doctor.
post #19 of 28
I just guess based on the reading material that my kids are able to read.
post #20 of 28
A combination of what I see them reading and yearly standardized testing.
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