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Matching the right book to a student or group of students is critical for ensuring reading success. The words and concepts in the story need to be within the student's grasp given the strategies and knowledge he or she currently has, yet offer challenges that will extend his or her reading ability. For reading instructors, the text should also provide the teacher with useful opportunities for explicit teaching when appropriate. Here is a list of questions you can ask yourself in relation to your students’ current knowledge.

  • How familiar are the concepts in the book?
  • How familiar is the vocabulary in the book?
  • Is the language structure in the book supportive?
  • If there are challenges in the concepts, vocabulary, or language structure, can they be addressed by a brief introduction of the book?
  • Do the pictures in the book expand your students' understanding of the text?
  • Is the story engaging? Will the students enjoy the characters and the plot?

What are the differences among leveled reading systems?


Guided Reading Levels

Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell developed the Guided Reading A-Z leveling system. This alphabetic system has several levels within each grade level. Guided Reading Levels allow teachers to tailor a reading program to a wide range of reading abilities.

  • High-quality, scientifically based classroom instruction
  • Ongoing student assessment of progress
  • Increasing tiers of instruction, offering specific, research-based interventions matched to student needs.

Intervention Levels

Before publishing a book, Pioneer Valley Books send each book through a rigorous testing period with a number of literacy professionals, including Reading Recovery® and classroom teachers. These teachers work together to assign a number level to each book. These are levels that we refer to on our website and in our catalog as 'intervention levels'.

Making Sense of Levels

This chart is intended to help educators compare various leveling systems. Each Pioneer Valley Book is leveled with both an Intervention Level and a Guided Reading Level.