The Importance of Reading Levels in Kindergarten Through Eighth Grade
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The Importance of Reading Levels in Kindergarten Through Eighth Grade

Parents should be aware of their childÂ’s reading level. If a child is consistently behind in reading in school, it will mean frustration for a child in school.

The Importance of

Reading Levels in Kindergarten Through Eighth Grade

By Loretta Henke

A lot of schools now are using Guided Reading Levels to monitor a child’s reading progress.

What does this mean for you child as a reader? What does is mean for your child’s future success in school

My purpose here is to make clear what these reading levels are and how to use them.

First, you should be aware of your child’s reading level. If your child is consistently behind in reading, it will mean, your child can be continuously frustrated.

It will mean that when the State Reading Tests are administered on your child’s grade level, they won’t be able to read the material presented to them. If they can’t read the material presented to them, they can’t comprehend it and answer questions.

If your child is in 3rd grade (and should be on Levels O, P at the end of the school year) and is only on Level J (beginning of 2nd grade) that means your child is almost two years behind in reading.

After your child reaches Reading Level Z, they are reading to learn more than learning to read. They can now develop as learners and readers, increase and handle more difficult vocabulary and work on increasing their comprehension rather than struggling to decode reading material.

What Can You Do?

You can begin by printing the leveling chart below, and when you meet with your child’s teacher, be aware of what level your child is reading on. If your child is behind in reading, ask what is being done in school to help them. Are they receiving extra help in the classroom? Is there help they could be receiving after school, or within the school? Many schools have programs where your child can receive extra help during the day by reading specialists.

You could also hire a tutor, but make sure that the person you’re hiring has the experience and education necessary to help your child. Ask them what their qualifications are.


Grade Level (child is actually in)

Fountas &Pinnell Guided Reading Levels

Child’s Performance Level**


A Readiness PrePrimer 1



Grade 1 PrePrimer 2 PrePrimer 3



F Primer


H Grade 1


Grade 2

J, K Grade 2

L, M

Grade 3 N Grade 3

O, P

Grade 4 Q, R, S Grade 4

Grade 5 T, U, V Grade 5

Grade 6 W, X, Y Grade 6

Grade 7

Z Grade 7

Grade 8 Z Grade 8

*Reading level charts may vary slight, and they may contain reading levels for other reading programs. As a reading specialist, I have isolated the reading levels above solely for the Fountas &Pinnell Guided Reading Levels that are most commonly used.

**Performance Level-If your child is in 3rd grade and reading on an I Level, they are actually reading on a level that a First Grader should be reading on at the end of First Grade.

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