Determining Reading Levels of Books or Text Selections, Student Instructional levels

When choosing a book for speech and language therapy you want to make sure that the text matches your student’s reading level.   There are several tools that you can use that will make this easier.

Scholastic has a tool called Book Wizard:

This will give you grade level, reading level, DRA level or Lexile level.  It is also an app that you can have on your phone that allows you to scan the bar code and get the reading level.  It is a free service.

So for the book: It’s Mine here are the statistics:


It’s Mine!

Interest LevelGrades K – 2

Grade Level Equivalent2.9

GenreComedy and Humor, Fables, Folk Tales and Myths

Reading motivation programScholastic Reading Counts! , Accelerated Reader

Free ResourcesYes

Using this information you would know that it is a kindergarten interest level but nearly a 3rd grade reading level.  If you use it with a kindergartener it would be a read aloud by an adult, if it was a third grader you would expect the child to be able to read it easily.

There is also another tool called Lexile Analyzer:

This will allow you to make an analysis of a selection of text.  The procedure is really simple and there is a video that explains the process. Signing up is free.

Here is a passage that a student clinician was going to use with a client.  It was appropriate because of the student’s interest but when we did the Lexile levels it was too complex for the student’s reading level.

“A special education teacher is someone who works with children and youths who have a variety of disabilities. Children with special needs require unique instruction by specially trained professionals to help them achieve their highest potential and strive to progress beyond their limitations. Special education teachers are patient, understanding educators dedicated to giving each individual student the tools and guidance needed to help them maximize success.”

The Lexile score for this one is

Lexile Measure


Mean Sentence Length


Mean Log Word Frequency


Word Count


Now we look at the standards, this comes from the Common Core Curriculum.

Grade Level - Lexiles


You need to insure you have the right Lexile Levels.  This passage would be too difficult for the student that it was picked for.

Here are some other resources:

Reading chart that is month by month on the Fountas and Pinnell
This has many resources listed on it that tells you how to level books.

How to determine reading levels Running Record calculator

How do you know what the student’s reading levels are?  The below resource gives you what accuracy and comprehension levels you should be aiming for.

Accuracy and Comprehension Levels

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85 comments on “Determining Reading Levels of Books or Text Selections, Student Instructional levels
  1. Read! These resources are really helpful. I had to find the reading level for a project last semester and had some difficulty finding good resources for that. So thanks!

  2. Thanks so much for this resource as well. I use the app on my phone to level books through scholastic. Its works for most books and then I can put a sticker with the level on them so that the kids know what books are in their independent reading level.

  3. Thank you for providing these resources!! I have been wondering what reading level one of my kiddos is reading at and could not find the information anywhere. Now I can look it up just by knowing one of the books she has reading recently and look up that information to find other books at her reading level that she may enjoy!! This is such valuable information.

  4. Having these told will be very useful to determine what books are appropriate for our students. I really like how scholastic is also able to provide resources to go along with the book. Although I only teach toddlers at the time it is important for me to expose these children to a variety of text, even complex readings, but I always want to be mindful that the children understand the book or that I’m able to explain the content of the book to them. I have always believed that students should be challenged at all times, but teachers also need to do their part and always offer extra support if we are going to push our students in that direction.

    I also agree with Nicole, these resources will also help us classify books by reading levels as well as themes.

    Thanks again for the resources!

  5. This is very useful information. It will help for our assignment with our student, but would also be great when setting up a classroom library. This way, I can quickly and accurately label books in order to make it easier for students to pick a book they’re interested in and is at their level without wasting time doing the five finger rule. It will also help to organize the books by level and make them quicker to find.

  6. “Learning is highly dependent on language.” “Language is the primary tool for academic achievement.” Language is used by teachers to provide instruction and directions for academic content, social curriculum, and classroom behavior and structure. Students use their language to communicate their wants, needs, and ideas to teachers, peers, parents, etc.

    Reading, listening, and comprehending to complex texts across different genres will foster language development. As an educator, I search for appropriate texts to introduce and read to my classroom in order for all my students to develop their language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing). Determining the readability and how I will implement the instruction is crucial to the language development in all my students. There are a variety of methods to assess text complexity and evaluate the content area by using multiple assessment tools. I understand how important it is to measure the readability of a text and content before introducing it to my students however, I found at times the scores provided by the different measures may not always determine if the text complexity is appropriate for my students with speech and language impairments and learning disabilities. I find the texts offered in the curriculum is selected for typical developing students. When selecting texts, are they based on all learning styles and students who have learning disabilities? I feel that the Common Core three model which measures quantitative, qualitative, and reader and task gives you the flexibility to select the appropriate text for ALL students in the classroom. The model understands how important it is to determine the readability of the text that you are using in your classroom. I believe providing my students with higher level thinking and vocabulary will provide them with more opportunities to develop language development, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. Selecting the appropriate text and content to the students reading level, will allow students to succeed and develop a higher level of thinking to their cognitive ability.

    As an educator, I must differentiate each student’s instruction and learning in order to motivate and be successful in their academic achievement.

  7. I downloaded the Scholastic app on my phone and am registered for both Scholastic and Lexile. They are both very helpful and free, always a plus.

    However the Rubric for text complexity that we utilized in class really pulled it all together for me. I now feel more confident selecting texts for students.

    In addition students’ interest will continue to be a driving force when selecting texts.

  8. The book I chose for my Lesson Plan was Vacation Under the Volcano by Mary Pope Osborne. The genre of this book is Adventure and Fantasy and is one book from a series based on historical fiction. I read the book and the story line is that two children go back to Ancient Pompei on the day that Mount Vesuvius is going erupt. They are on a mission to find a lost book before the city is destroyed. I signed up for scholastic and I really enjoyed the website. The Lexile Level for this book is 410L and the interest level is for grades 3-5. I also found out that the reading level is a 2.2. It said that they have supplemental materials for this book but they are not free. However, I feel it would be in my students’ best interests if I were to buy those materials because they may be rewarding. A question I have that may guide me is what is a DRA? According to Scholastic this book is a 24 DRA. I would also like to know what else I could research this weekend as I prepare to fill out the lesson plan. I already included some information but I would like to add more. Thank you so much for your time to read my post.

    • The Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) is a standardized reading test used to determine a student’s instructional level in reading. The DRA is administered individually to students by teachers and/or reading specialists.

      In Rhode Island now all 2nd-grade students need to be measured using DRA.

      I have upload to Sakai a DRA equivalent chart.

      I applaud your enthusiasm! I always tell my clinicians to first look at free items and see if that will help them before they purchase anything. I have included a link here that has some great information for this book.

      • My district has switched from DRA to Fountas and Pinnell. It’s a bit more confusing and the book levels are not equivalent to DRA levels but are similar. There are equivalent charts available online.

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