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 4 Reading Levels For
Reading Comprehension
 10 Balanced
Reading Program
 5 Reading Skills For
Proficient Reading
4 Classroom Reading
Environment Must Haves
5 Reading Stages For
Proficient Reading

Reading Levels For Reading Comprehension

Instructional Level

 This is the level that the student's reading instruction is based on for guided reading.  A child reading at their instructional level needs adult guidance to be successful. 1 error per 20 words. Reading scores usually refer to instructional level.

Independent Level

 This is the student's just right reading level.  It is always lower than their instructional level and he/she can read this material without adult assistance.

Frustration Level

  At this level the material is too difficult to read even with adult assistance. Encourage the child to save this book for a late date and choosing books at this level. 


Listening Comprehension Level

 This is the level of text the child can listen to and understand when it is being read to them.  Children are often able to listen to and understand books at a higher level than they are reading independently.  This is a great way to build vocabulary and background knowledge. 

 Retrieved from

Balance Reading Program

Read Aloud
Reading aloud to children is conducted on students' conceptual level. The teacher reads to students to actively engage them in processing print at their highest level. Throughout the day the teacher reads a variety of quality literature to the children. This exposes them to works that are above the level that they would be able to read without assistance. As children listen to fictional works, their understanding of story structure grows. Listening to informational texts expands student background of experiences, vocabulary, and creates a base for content learning which can serve as the basis for discussion. Poetry also needs to be shared daily as it creates a love of language and provides students with the opportunity to experience symbolic images. By reading to children, the teacher models fluent, expressive reading and shares a contagious enthusiasm for books.

Shared Reading
Shared reading allows students to take risks and read part of the text. The teacher actively engages them in processing print that is between their read-aloud and guided process reading levels. During shared reading, the teacher and children read together from big books, poems, charts etc. The teacher invites the students to join in. Typically, a teacher uses the same text for about a week. The first reading focuses on meaning and enjoyment. Through many experiences with the text, children become so familiar with the text that they read along with the teacher. Through shared reading, they learn concepts about print. Shared reading gives the teacher an opportunity to teach skills and vocabulary in a meaningful context and allows the teacher to demonstrate conventions such as pausing at a comma or stopping at a period. Children take part in related activities which will extend their learning. They may act out the book or write or illustrate their own version of the story. A copy of the text used should be available for children to read independently or with a friend. Other techniques are: choral reading, echo reading, chanting, dialogue reading, cumulative reading and reader's theatre.

Guided Reading
Guided process reading is conducted on the students' instructional level. The teacher guides students to process text to construct meaning that is age, interest, and concept appropriate. It provides the opportunity to work with small groups on books that present a successful challenge. During guided reading the teacher can observe the reading strategies that children are using, demonstrate reading strategies and language skills and develop individual children's competence in using those strategies and skills. Guided reading provides an opportunity to develop independence and self-monitoring, as well as an opportunity to provide direct instruction as appropriate. Grouping remains flexible so that children can move ahead as quickly as they are able to do so.

Independent Reading
Sustained silent reading is on students' independent level. They select and read text to themselves. It is essential that children be given lots of opportunities to practice reading. They also need to be allowed to choose what they are reading during this time. The books should be at their instructional reading level

 Word Study
Students work with words through fun and engaging activities. Through word study students learn letters and the sounds they make. They then move on to root words, suffixes and prefixes, and how to derive meaning of words.

Model Writing
  Modeled writing is a think-aloud process. Teachers model their own writing processes including rethinking, revising, and editing. Students observe the teacher sort though various options and questions and making choices appropriate for the intended purpose and audience. Teachers show their own planning strategies, demonstrating that even expert writers work tentatively, revise often, and still may need to start over-and over.

Interactive Writing
  The teacher guides group writing of a large-print piece, which can be a list, a chart, pages of a book, or another form of writing. The teacher models and demonstrates the writing process but also share the pen with the students. The message or story is composed by the group and then constructed word by word with all students participating in composing and construction various aspects of the writing. The teacher selects letters, words, or other writing actions for individual students to do; the pen or marker is shared. The peice of writing is read many times by the group during the process as and as shared reading.

Shared Writing
  During shared writing time, students share experiences and interests with the support of the teacher, to generate ideas and language for composing the text. Acting as scribe, the teacher helps them shape their words and ideas into a coherent message. The teacher coaches the process of putting ideas into written language. Editing and proofreading as a class, provides students the opportunity to practice strategies for self-correction and meaning making. Shared writing enables all students to participate and helps them to gain confidence when writing independently.

 Guided Writing
The goal of writing workshop is continuous growth in the writers as they learn more about the writing process. Teacher demonstration and articulation of the process of writing is critical to student's understanding. During guided writing or writing workshop, students construct individual pieces of writing with teacher (and eventually peer) guidance, assistance, and feedback. A guided writing session consists of mini-lesson, writing/conference time, and sharing.

Independent Writing
Independent writing provides an opportunity for students to practice using the writing strategies they have learned in modeled writing, shared writing and guided writing. Students write for authentic purposes, for different audiences and use a variety of styles. They write their own messages and stories, helping each other at times. They use journals to reflect and respond to what they are learning. They independently write their own version of a familiar text and illustrate, label, and write speech bubbles of what the characters would say. They are taught how to use the resources in the room to find words they cannot write independently. Teachers conference with students and encourage them publish their work. Observing independent writing helps the teacher plan for guided writing mini-lessons an suggests teaching points to raise during interactive writing.

Retrieved from

Reading Skills For Proficient Reading



Strategies Based on Research




The ability to hear and manipulate the individual sounds within words

Students will have successfully accomplished phonemic awareness when they can fully segment words with ease.  K-1


Instruction that teaches students to use the relationship between letters and sounds to translate printed text into pronunciation. Includes the teaching of letter sounds, how complex spelling patterns are pronounced, and how to use this information to decode or sound out words.

Systematic, intensive phonics instruction most effective. Activities such as dictation or invented spelling have been found to help children learn phonics


The ability to read text aloud with accuracy, speed, and proper expression. Accuracy, speed, and expression

Avoid round robin reading, all grade levels. Best benefit with material written at instructional or frustration level. Repeated reading of same text. Improves word reading skills, oral reading fluency, and oral and silent reading comprehension


The teaching of word meanings to enhance reading comprehension

Teach word meanings and word parts such as prefixes and suffixes to impact comprehension. Instruction should be direct and indirect. Indirect could be reading to students or having students read independently. Direct instruction is providing explanations and thorough analysis of words meanings. Emphasize interconnections among words and meanings and the connection to students’ experiences with abundant review and repletion



Act of understanding and interpreting the information within a text. Construction of meaning vs. passive remembering

Direct instruction while reading using multiple comprehension strategies such as summarization, questioning, story maps, comprehension monitoring, graphic organizers. Use a Model, Guided Practice, Independent Practice approach.


Retrieved from

The National Reading Panel Report: Practical Advice for Teachers

Classroom Reading
Environment Must Haves

 Labels & Pictures
 Many Genres of Books
 Big Books
 Dictionaires  Encyclopedias  Thesaurus  Atlas
 Words Walls
 Calendar  Schedule  Signs
 Books of Tape & CD
 Computer Games/Instruction
 Variety of Reading Level Books
Student Journals
 Read Aloud Books
 Directions  Phone Books
 Poems  Recipes  Student Work
 Alphabet Displays
 Reading Corner
 Reading Group Table
 Alternate Books by Theme
 Alphabet Tiles
 Sight Word Cards
 Pocket Charts
 Word Cards
 Scrabble  Bingo  Boggle  Alphabet Cookie Cutters
 Alphabet Stamps
 Magazines  Notebooks  Lots of Paper

Reading Stages To Become A Successful Reader





Word Study Focus





Stage 1


Scribbles letters & numbers


Lacks concept of word


Lacks letter-sound correspondence or represents most salient sound with single letter


Pretends to read and write

Read to students and encourage oral language activities


Model writing using dictations and chars


Encourage pretend reading and writing

Develop oral language with concept sorts


Play with speech sounds to develop phonological awareness


Plan activities to learn the alphabet


Sort pictures by beginning sound


Encourage fingerpoint memory reading of rhymes, dictations, and simple books


Encourage invented spelling









Stage 2





















Early Letter Name

Represents beginning and ending sounds


Uses letter names to invent spellings


Has rudimentary or functional concept of word


Reads word by word in beginning reading materials

Read to students and encourage oral language activities


Secure concept of word by plenty of reading in predictable books, dictations, and simple rhymes


Record and reread individual dictations


Label pictures and write in journals regularly

Collect known words for word bank


Sort pictures and words by beginning sounds


Study word families that share a common vowel


Study beginning consonant blends and digraphs


Encourage invented spelling

Middle to Late Letter Name

Correctly spells initial and final consonants and some blends and digraphs


Uses letter names to spell vowel sounds


Spells phonetically, representing all salient sounds in a one-to-one, linear fashion


Omits most silent letters and preconsonantal nasals in spelling (bop or bup for bump)


Fingerpoints accurately and can self-correct when off track


Reads aloud slowly in a word-by-word manner

Read to students


Encourage invented spellings in independent writing, but hold students accountable for features and words they have studied


Collect two-three paragraph dictations that are reread regularly


Encourage more expansive writing and consider some simple editing procedures for punctuation and high-frequency words

Sort pictures and words by different short vowel word families


Sort pictures and words by short vowel sounds and CVC patterns


Continue to examine more difficult consonant blends with pictures and words


Study preconsonantal nasals and digraphs at the end of words


Sort pictures comparing short and long vowel sounds


Collect known words for word bank (up to 200)









Stage 3


Word Pattern Stage

Spells most single-syllable, short vowel words correctly


Spells most beginning consonant digraphs and two-letter consonant blends


Attempts to use silent long vowel markers


Reads silently and with more fluency and expression


Writes more fluently and in extended fashion


Can revise and edit

Continue to read aloud to students


Guide Silent reading of simple chapter books


Write each day, writers’ workshops, conferencing, and publication

Complete daily activities in word study notebook


Sort words by long- and short-vowel sounds and by common long-vowel patters


Compare words with r-influenced vowels


Explore less common vowel, dipthongs (oi, oy), and other ambiguous vowels (ou, au, ow, oo)


Examine tripel blends and complex consonant unitts such as thr, str, dge, tch, ck


Explore homographs and homophones






Syllables and Affixes

Spells most single-syllable words correctly


Makes errors at syllable


Reads with good fluency and expression


Reads faster silently than orally


Writes responses that are sophisticated and critical

Plan read-alouds and literature discussions


Include self-selected or assigned silent reading of novels of different genres


Begin simple note taking and outlining skills, and work with adjusting reading rates for different purposes


Explore reading and writing styles and genres

Examine plural endings


Study compound words


Study consonant doubling and inflected endings


Study open and closed syllables and other syllable junctures issues


Explore syllable stress and vowel patterns I the accented syllable, especially ambiguous vowels


Focus on unaccented syllables such as er and le


Explore unusual consonant blends and digraphs (qu, ph, gh, gu)


Study base woeds and affixes


Focus on two-syllabe homophones and homographs


Join spelling and vocabulary studies; link meaning and spelling with grammar and meaning


Explore grammar through word study


Sort and study common affixes (prefixes and suffixes)


Study stress or accent in two-syllable words



Stage 5

Derivational Relations





Has mastered high frequency words


Makes errors on low frequency, multisyllabic words derived from Latin and Greek


Reads with good fluency and expression


Reads faster silently than orally


Writes responses that are sophisticated and critical

Include silent reading and writing, exploring various genres


Develop study skills, including textbook reading, note taking, adjusting rates, test taking, report writing, and reference work


Focus on literary analysis

Focus on words that students bring to word study from their reading and writing


Join spelling and vocabulary studies; link meaning and spelling with grammar and meaning


Examine common and then less common roots, prefixes, and suffixes (ion)


Examine vowel and consonant alternations in derivationally related pairs


Study Greek and Latin words roots and stems


Focus on abstract  Latin suffixes (ence/ance; ible/able; ent/ant)


Learn about absorbed or assimilated prefixes


Explore etymology, especially in the content areas


Examine content-related foreign borrowings

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