One of the primary goals at Sierra Expeditionary Learning School (SELS) is to facilitate and enhance a love of reading in all students. Leveled texts are used to support students and aid teachers in daily literacy instruction and are an essential tool. Teachers work to achieve reading success through one-on-one conferencing, informal reading assessments, whole-class instruction, strategy groups, and guided reading groups. Leveled texts are used to assist students and teachers in a way other texts are not able to. Kindergarten through 5th-grade students learning to become proficient readers benefit from the use of leveled texts while assisting teachers with the appropriate text to scaffold and explicitly teach literacy skills. After a recent inventory of our leveled book selection, we have found a need for additional sets. During quarantine, several books were sent home with students and were never returned; therefore, we now have incomplete sets. Due to COVID, we have also noted that more students need lower-level books. Our lack of inventory proves problematic, especially since Kindergarten through 5th grade shares the same selection of books.
Leveled texts enhance the success of the reading curriculum for K-5th grade students at SELS. They are used in conjunction with the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) and STAR assessments that are administered in order to identify a student’s reading level and progress over time. The assessments are also used to identify specific areas of challenge and strengths with various literacy skills. Leveled texts are a crucial step in scaffolding the necessary skills students need as they move through their literacy development from Kindergarten through 5th grade.
At SELS, leveled texts have proven over the years to be an integral tool in strengthening students’ reading skills of comprehension, fluency, accuracy, and expansion of vocabulary. Teachers use these texts to focus on the reading skills that students must continuously work on, as well as a tool to support those who may be experiencing difficulty reaching grade-level benchmarks. The DRA and STAR assessments are given at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year, with progress monitoring in between, in order to determine a student’s reading level; therefore, leveled texts have been essential to the instruction of literacy for every student working towards grade-level standards. We know that we have been successful in the past using leveled texts through our formative assessment, the DRA, coupled with informal assessments and teacher observations. It is because of these leveled texts that we’ve seen significant growth across grade levels.
After assessments are administered and reading levels determined, teachers are then able to explicitly teach literacy skills with leveled texts. With the use of the DRA and STAR assessments, teachers are able to pinpoint the areas of need and can then target instruction successfully. Leveled texts support educators daily when they are working one-on-one with students or in small groups.
This grant intends to provide K-5 teachers and students with an essential resource. This grant will serve all students learning to read, already on grade level and below grade level.
We are looking into Fountas & Pinnell reading sets, published by Heinemann. This is a reliable and reputable resource for instructional and independent reading levels. We feel these book sets will meet our reading needs.