Identifying Books by Reading Level

The following is a list of resources to identify books by reading level. Leveled books have been given a grade for readability. Some books are assigned levels as part of a publisher’s book program, and leveling measurements include Lexile, Guided Reading, DRA, and Reading Recovery. Each system levels books differently, and a book leveling conversion chart is available in the web resources list below. Please note that some online resources are available only to University of Illinois affiliates.

Web Resources

Books In Print
This database is available through UIUC. Use the “Children’s Room” search in the top right corner to limit results by Lexile range and age. There is also a “Search my Library’s Catalog” link for each book.

Book Leveling Conversion Chart
This chart compares different book level measurements such as Guided Reading, Lexile, and DRA. This is from the Brenda Weaver book listed below in print resources.

Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database
This database is available through UIUC. Each entry includes an annotation, subjects, reviews, and a list of awards. You can search for books by reading metrics, including Lexile range, interest level, reading level, and point range, as well as subject, author, and so on. Interest level and the additional age search option help locate books that fit a specific reading level but are also age appropriate. The many search options make this a great resource.

The Lexile Framework for Reading
Search by Lexile measure or grade level.

This database is available through UIUC. Book records in NoveList include reviews for young adult, children’s and early childhood fiction titles. Search limiters allow you to find titles and authors for particular reading levels and Lexile ratings.

Scholastic Book Wizard
Search by reading level, interest level, subject, and/or genre. Reading levels include Lexile, Grade Level Equivalent, Guided Reading and DRA. Each book has a summary and an option to find similar books.

Print Resources

Fountas, Irene C. and Gay Su Pinnell. Guided Reading: Good First Teaching for All Children. 1996.
Drawing on the authors’ nine years of research and development, explains how to create a balanced literacy program for K-3 based on guided reading and supported by reading aloud, shared reading, interactive writing, and other approaches. Includes both theoretical underpinnings and practical guidelines, along with a listing of 2,500 leveled books.
[Education 372.4 F825G]

Fountas, Irene C. and Gay Su Pinnell. Leveled Books for Readers, Grades 3-6. 2002.
This book lists 6,000 leveled fiction and nonfiction titles for grades 2-6, encompassing genres such as realistic fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, traditional literature, biography, and information books. Books are organized by title, level of difficulty, and genre. Also included is a detailed description of the leveling process.
[Education 372.6 P656l]

Fountas, Irene C. and Gay Su Pinnell. Matching Books to Readers: Using Leveled Books in Guided Reading, K-3. 1999.
Created with the input of hundreds of early literacy teachers, this book compiles more than seven thousand caption books, natural language texts, series books, and children’s literature for kindergarten through grade three.
[Education 372.41 F825m]

Weaver, Brenda M. Leveling Books K-6: Matching Readers to Text. 2000.
This how-to book can help you make informed choices about which leveling system is best for your classroom, which books can be used in instruction, and how to implement the challenging task of leveling.
[Oak St. Facility 372.4 W379l]

Children’s Book Week, May 11-17, 2009

Last month, the S-collection celebrated El Dia de Los Ninos/El Dia de Los Libros, an annual event that promotes literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. The celebration and promotion of young readers continues this month, with Children’s Book Week, an annual event sponsored by the Children’s Book Council. As part of Children’s Book Week, held this year from May 11-17, youth are invited to vote for their favorite titles and authors as part of the Children’s Choice Book Awards, the only reader-driven awards given to authors and illustrators of books for children and teens. Please visit to help young readers vote for their favorite books, get tips on planning an event in your classroom or library, or for more information on the history of Children’s Book Week.

And the nominees for this year’s awards are…
Grades K-2 category:
Staake, Bob.
The Donut Chef. 2008.
In this delicious tale, a baker hangs out his shingle on a small street and soon the line for his donuts stretches down the block. But it’s not long before the competition arrives and a battle of the bakers ensues.
[Education S Collection SE. St111d]

Himmelman, John.
Katie Loves the Kittens. 2008.
When Sara Ann brings home three little kittens, Katie the dog’s enthusiasm frightens the kittens away, until she learns that quiet patience is sometimes needed to begin a friendship.
[Education S Collection SE. H576k]

Willems, Mo.
The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! 2008.
The pigeon really, really wants a puppy, but when a puppy arrives the pigeon changes its mind.
[Education S Collection SE. W667pp]

Mariconda, Barbara.
Sort it Out! 2008.
Packy the Packrat’s mother has had enough! It’s time that he sorts through his ever-growing collection of trinkets and puts them away.

Rubin, Adam.
Those Darn Squirrels! 2008.
Old Man Fookwire is a grump. The only thing he likes to do is paint pictures of the birds that visit his backyard. So he decides to get them to stay by putting up beautiful birdfeeders filled with seeds and berries. Unfortunately, the squirrels like the treats, too, and make a daring raid on the feeders.
Grades 3-4 category:
Holm, Jennifer.
Babymouse #8: Puppy Love. 2007.
Babymouse doesn’t exactly have a great history with pets–even her goldfish ran away from home. But all that’s about to change. Will Babymouse get the dog of her dreams?

Swain, Ruth Freeman.
Underwear: What We Wear Under There. 2008.
With uproarious illustrations by John O’Brian, Ruth Freeman Swain sets out to discover the truth behind this curious topic. A time line is included.

Williams, Dinah.
Spooky Cemeteries. 2008.
Do the dead tell tales? Readers will find out in this scary trip through 11 of the world’s spookiest graveyards!

Brennan-Nelson, Denise.
Willow. 2008.
Miss Hawthorn doesn’t like painting out of the lines, until new student Willow joins the class. Magical things can happen when your imagination is allowed to run wild, and for Miss Hawthorn the notion of what is art and what is possible is forever changed.

DK Publishing.
One Million Things: A Visual Encyclopedia. 2008.
Featuring gorgeous photographs that illustrate and educate, this visual encyclopedia is jam-packed with thousands and thousands of images that bring more than one million things to light.
Grades 5-6 category:
Claybourne, Anna.
100 Most Dangerous Things on the Planet. 2008.
Kids will learn how to handle natural disasters, extreme weather, dangerous animals, and being lost in the wild. From asteroid strikes to avalanches, being lost in a cave to being attacked by an alligator, this is the ultimate survival guide!

Kibuishi, Kazu.
Amulet: The Stonekeeper. 2008.
Emily’s and Narvin’s mother is kidnapped and dragged into a strange and magical world where, it seems, the children’s great-grandfather has been before. It’s up to the children to set things right and save their mother’s life.
[Center for Children’s Books S. K533s]

Boos, Ben.
Swords: An Artist’s Devotion. 2008.
Illustrated with breathtaking intricacy, a celebration of swords and swordsmen spans history and cultures to review the ancient warriors who lived by the sword, from Beowulf to medieval knights, and from stealthy ninja and samurai to legendary maidens of war.
[Education S Collection Q. S.623.441 B64449s]

Lupica, Mike.
The Big Field. 2008.
When fourteen-year-old baseball player Hutch feels threatened by the arrival of a new teammate named Darryl, he tries to work through his insecurities about both Darryl and his remote and silent father, who was once a great ballplayer too.
[Education S Collection S. L973b]

Myracle, Lauren.
Thirteen. 2008.
Winnie’s thirteenth year brings many joys and challenges as she negotiates her relationship with her first boyfriend and realizes that change is inevitable in her friends, family, and even herself.
[Education S Collection S. M996th]
Teen Category:
Meyer, Stephenie.
Breaking Dawn. 2008.
In the fourth and final book in the #1 bestselling teen vampire Twilight Saga, questions will be answered and the fate of Bella and Edward will be revealed.
[Uni High M5758b]

Collins, Suzanne.
The Hunger Games. 2008.
In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss’s skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place.
[Education S Collection S. C696h]

Dessen, Sarah.
Lock and Key. 2008.
When she is abandoned by her alcoholic mother, high school senior Ruby winds up living with Cora, the sister she has not seen for ten years, and learns about Cora’s new life, what makes a family, how to allow people to help her when she needs it, and that she too has something to offer others.
[Education S Collection S. D472l]

Greer, John.
Paper Towns. 2008.
One month before graduating from his Central Florida high school, Quentin “Q” Jacobsen basks in the predictable boringness of his life until the beautiful and exciting Margo Roth Spiegelman, Q’s neighbor and classmate, takes him on a midnight adventure and then mysteriously disappears.
[Education S Collection S. G823p]

Cabot, Meg.
Airhead. 2008.
Sixteen-year-old Emerson Watts, an advanced placement student with a disdain for fashion, is the recipient of a “whole body transplant” and finds herself transformed into one of the world’s most famous teen supermodels.
[Education S Collection S. C1125ai]
* Descriptions of books not yet in our collection are taken from the publishers’ websites. Books listed without call numbers are being ordered for the S-Collection.

Celebrate Dia !

El Dia de los Ninos/El dia de los libros
Children’s Day/Book Day

Children’s Day/Book Day, also known as El día de los niños/El día de los libros (or simply Día), is a celebration of children, families, and reading held annually on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

According to the Association for Library Service for Children (ALSC), Día is an enhancement of Children’s Day, which began in 1925. Children’s Day was designated as a day to bring attention to the importance and well-being of children. In 1996, nationally acclaimed children’s book author Pat Mora proposed linking the celebration of childhood and children with literacy to found El día de los niños/El día de los libros.

The S-collection presents a selection of Pat Mora’s charming books for children in honor of Día, and in honor of her constant efforts to improve literacy for Spanish and English speaking children alike.
Abuelos. 2008.
Young Ray and Amelia move to a new village and experience the fright and fun of “los abuelos” for the first time.The tradition of “los abuelos” comes from northern New Mexico. In the cold months of midwinter, village men disappear to disguise themselves as scary old men and then descend on the children, teasing them and asking if they’ve been good.
[Education S-Collection Q. S. M792a]

The Bakery Lady. 2001.
Monica, who wants to be a baker like her grandmother, finds the doll hidden in the bread on the feast for the Three Kings and thus gets to bake cookies for the next fiesta. Text is in both English and Spanish.
[Education Storage Q. SE. M79ba]

Dona Flor: A Tale About a Giant Woman With a Big Heart. 2005.
Dona Flor, a giant lady with a big heart, sets off to protect her neighbors from what they think is a dangerous animal, but soon discovers the tiny secret behind the huge noise.
[Education S-Collection Q. SE. M79d]

Join Hands! The Ways We Celebrate Life. 2008.
A pantoum, a Malaysian poetic form, captures the joys of children playing together.
[Education S-Collection S.811 M79j]

Marimba! Animals from A to Z. 2006.
Rhyming text reveals the antics of an alphabet full of zoo animals as they enjoy a night of singing, dancing, feasting, and playing musical instruments while their keepers sleep. Includes pronunciation and translation guide to Spanish words that appear throughout the text.
[Education S-Collection Q. SE. M 79m]

The Rainbow Tulip. 1999.
A Mexican-American first-grader experiences the difficulties and pleasures of being different when she wears a tulip costume with all the colors of the rainbow for the school May Day parade. Text is in English and Spanish.
[Education Storage SE. M79r]

The Race of Toad and Deer. 1995.
This Guatemalan folk tale is retold by Pat Mora, with illustrations by Maya Itzna Brooks. With the help of his friends, Tio Sapo, the toad, defeats the overconfident Tio Venado, the deer, in a race.
[Education S-Collection S.398.2 M79R]

Tomas and the Library Lady. 1997.
While helping his family in their work as migrant laborers far from their home, Tomas finds an entire world to explore in the books at the local public library. Text is in both English and Spanish.
[Center for Children’s Books SE. M79t]

Uno, Dos, Tres: One, Two, Three. 1996.
Pictures depict two sisters going from shop to shop buying birthday presents for their mother. Rhyming text presents numbers from one to ten in English and Spanish.
[Education Storage Q. SE. M79u]
ALSC leads the way in forging excellent library service for all children by supporting the profession of children’s librarianship through education, advocacy and collaboration. For more information about ALSC awards, projects and events, visit, or contact the ALSC office at 800-545-2433, ext. 2163,

For more information on Día, and to find a celebration and events at a library near you, please visit the ALSC/ Día website at

Summer Reading for Children and Youth

School is nearly out in most places in the northern hemisphere and it is time to consider reading opportunities for children and teens during the hot, lazy days of summer.

Below are some Web sites that provide links to various reading lists and other Web sites with strategies to improve children’s reading. Take some time this summer to relax, read with children or provide fun reading material, and be sure to discuss what is being read! Whether you are headed for a beach vacation, a cabin in the woods, or just some time at home away from the demands of work and school, there are always opportunities for reading. While reading “the classics” may be popular with teachers and parents, don’t forget that reading comics, manga, and other books just for fun can maintain or help develop good reading skills also. Just check out the lists below and enjoy!

Education World® Curriculum: Reading Lists Abound on the Web

This timely article mentions the importance of summer reading in order to maintain reading skills during the summer break from school. Lists of books are provided through several links.
Summer Reading and Learning for Children

Sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children, a unit of the American Library Association, this site provides links to lists of award winners and other notable books for children and teens.
Summer Reading List Suggestions

This site is a link from Mrs. Mitchell’s Virtual School Page and offers links to lists of recommended books from Canada and the U.S.