How to Measure Your Child's Reading Level

Your child's reading level can be determined by using several different techniques. Testing will ensure that your child is reading books appropriate to his vocabulary development.

It's On the Book
One method is to look at the reading level designation on the books your child reads. This label is usually listed near the list price and bar code area on the cover of children's books. Look for something similar to this:  RL 2.8. This shows that the book contains language identifiable by a child in the eighth month of second grade. Average the reading level of several books your child considers his favorites to determine the RL of your child. This method shows the average vocabulary skills your child has and uses to decode reading material in context.

The only drawback to this method of assessment is that most books above a sixth grade reading level do not list a RL.

Decode the Words
A decoding chart, such as the one listed here, helps parents calculate reading level easily. This chart measures reading level through college age. Each list contains eight letters or words. Begin with the -A' and have your child read to the end of the first column (-H') and continue reading each set of eight words, moving left to right.

Once your child has missed five words consecutively, you will be able to determine the reading level.

A similar test, the San Diego Quick Assessment, provides lists of 10 words; however, a child can only make two errors before the reading level is determined.

This type of test only measures reading level. It is not an indicator of comprehension.

Online Testing
Several online sites offer reading assessment testing. This type of examination checks phonics skills and reading comprehension level. Most online tests only calculate to a tenth grade reading level. Online tests usually stop when the test exceeds the ability level of the test taker.

Determining your child's reading level will help when you and he select books to read. Plus, it will open a whole new world to your child, one that is enhanced by reading.

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