Blogger Kirsten Caldwell

Beginning Readers: Amazing and Challenging

Beginning readers are one of the collections I purchase for in my library and they are my favorite. I see them as the underrated collection in the childrens’ section. Even if I didn’t order them, I would still LOVE them. Beginning Readers or Early Readers are short books that are designed for children who are just learning to read independently. As amazing as they are, there is not a singular way to level these by difficulty between libraries and that can add some challenges.

Beginning readers are often character based with popular characters like Pete the Cat, Lego, Pinkalicious, and more. There are also some characteristic early readers such as Biscuit and Henry and Mudge that many parents gravitate towards. In my library, we shelve the phonics books here as well. These books give kids the independence to read a story on their own and improve their literacy skills.

Even reluctant readers will gravitate towards the beginning readers because of the characters. The simplicity of the text is also reassuring to many children who are still learning. Creating reading habits at a young age is so important and these short simple books with fun stories are a great way to do this.

A difficulty with these, is the leveling. It seems that the publishers, school libraries, and public libraries all have their own ways of leveling them. My library goes roughly based on the lexile level as well as the librarian’s discretion. Our own levels often don’t match what the publishers put on the books. In addition, parents come in asking for book suggestions at a level that their school librarian said their child was at while we don’t use that same system. It can be a challenge for parents and librarians to keep up!

As librarians, we have to be aware of the different ways these are categorized in our areas and be able to help children choose the right book for their level that will give them the confidence to keep on reading.

For some examples of how different libraries level their beginning readers, check out this post from Emily Mroczek-Bayci.

If you are looking for a way to help patrons navigate the beginning readers section, read the article by Katie Salo from 2018.

How do you do leveling at your libraries?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *