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The Benefits of Reading

February 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Mommy MD Guide Stacey Weiland, MD

The importance of reading with your child cannot be overstated. Our house is literally overflowing with books, with titles ranging from Sandra Boynton’s But Not the Hippopotamus, to Homer’s The Iliad.

We started reading to our children before they could even talk, much less read themselves.

The positive evidence for reading is overwhelming. Studies have demonstrated that early nightly reading paves the way toward producing a child who is an excellent independent reader themselves. Skilled readers report that they were read to more often by their parents and had frequent discussions about books and stories in general.

Once a child begins to read back to you, the benefits become even more significant. Reading expands a child’s vocabulary. Before a child begins to read, he learns about seven new words per day, amounting to approximately 3,000 new words per year.

Books offer almost three times as many interesting or complicated words compared with general conversation. Adult level books are estimated to contain about 50 rare words per every thousand. Even children’s books are shown to possess 50 percent more rare words than an average college graduate’s conversation!

The more a child reads, the quicker his reading ability ascends. In a study by Anderson et al, 1988, researchers found that the very best readers (those at the 90th percentile) read for more than 20 minutes a day, or about 1.8 million words per year. In contrast, the poorest readers (those reading below the 10th percentile) read less than one minute each day, amounting to a measly 8,000 words per year. Eight thousand words are what the best readers get through in just two days!

While children enjoy the experience of reading a book on their own, there are a lot of benefits of having them read to you as well. Parents can assist children when they come across an unknown word, both in explaining its meaning, as well as helping to sound it out. Comprehension skills can be practiced by asking your child questions: What do you think will happen next? How do you think that character felt when that happened?

It’s also very important for parents to make sure that their child is reading a book at his proper reading level, so as not to become frustrated. As a general rule, a child should be able to read about 95 percent of the words on a page correctly, or 19 out of 20.

Many books in the children’s section of bookstores and libraries are marked as being at a particular reading level. Unfortunately, there are several different systems used. Elementary schools also use different reading level scales.

In Colorado, where I live, our local public schools use DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) leveled books (Celebration Press, 2001). Other schools use the Guided Reading Level (GRL), also known as the Fountas and Pinnell system; Reading Recovery; Accelerated Reading; Rigby; the SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory), which assigns Lexile® levels; and the DRP system (Degrees of Reading Power).

Resources are available both online and in print that can assist teachers and parents in converting one system into another, including:

1.       Scholastic Books (http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/leveling-resource-guide)

2.      Rigby (http://rigby.hmhco.com/NR/rdonlyres/BD327c82-3F6E-4CEF-BAA2-CDFB31BE60A9/0/3816_R_LeveledChart.pdf)

3.      Reading A–Z.com http://www.readinga-z.com/correlation-chart.php.

In the following table, I have combined some of the more commonly used systems for you:

Comparing Reading Levels for Various Reading Level Systems

GRL Level (Fountas and Pinnell)

DRA Level

Lexile® Level

Reading Recovery

Rigby Literacy Levels

A

A-1

BR-70

1

1-2

B

1-2

BR-70

2

3-4

C

3

BR-70

3-4

5

D

4

80-450

5-6

6

E

6-8

80-450

7-8

7

F

10

80-450

9-10

8

G

12

80-450

11-12

9

H

14

80-450

13-14

10

I

16

80-450

15-16

11

J

18

451-500

17

12

K

18

451-500

17

13-14

L

20

501-550

18

15

M

24

501-550

19

16-17

N

30

501-550

20

18

O

34-38

601-650

20

19

P

34-38

601-650

28

20

Q

40

651-730

30

 

R

40

651-730

30

 

S

44/50

691-770

34

 

T

44/50

731-770

38

 

U

44/50

771-800

40

 

V

44/50

771-830

40

 

W

60

801-860

40

 

X

60

831-860

40

 

Y

60

861-890

40

 

Z

70-80

891-980

50

 

 

In addition, there are multiple book leveling sites available that can help you determine what level a book is within a particular leveling system, including:

1.      Scholastic Book Wizard: http://bookwizard.scholastic.com/tbw/homePage.do

2.      Leveled Book List: http://home.comcast.net/~ngiansante/

3.      BSD Leveled Book Database:http://registration.beavton.k12.or.us/lbdb/

4.      A to Z Teacher Stuff Leveled Book Database:http://books.atozteacherstuff.com/leveled-books/

5.      440 Book Titles:http://faculty.tamu-commerce.edu/Espinoza/s/ellis-b-rdlevl.html

6.      The Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Book List. K-8 written by Irene Fountas and Gay Pinnell

I have also compiled a list of popular books, including: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White; The Magic Tree House Books by M.P. Osborne; Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling; and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I have stratified them by DRA, GRA, and Lexile® levels:

Books by Reading Level per the Scholastic Reader Website

Title

Author

DRA Level

GRA Level

Lexile® Level

Grade

Have You Seen My Duckling?

Tafuri, N

A-1

A

20

PreK-K

Let’s Go Visiting

Williams, S

2

B

0

PreK-1

Mice Squeak, We Speak

dePaola, T

3-4

C

60

K-1

Where is Max?

Pearson, ME

6

D

 

K-1

No Snacks, Jack

Reed, J

8

E

 

1-2

Gray Rabbit’s 1,2,3

Baker, A

10

F

 

K-1

Who Stole the Cookies?

Moffat, J

12

G

 

PreK-1

Bugs for Lunch

Long, S

14

H

 

K-2

We Just Moved!

Krensky, S

16

I

250

1-2

Curious George Takes a Job

Rey, HA

16-18

J

570

K-2

When I First Came to This Land

Ziefert, H

16-18

K

 

K-2

Magic Tree House #30. Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve

Osborne, MP

20-24

M

390

2-4

Junie B., First Grader. Toothless Wonder

Park, B

20-24

M

280

1-2

A to Z Mysteries® The Missing Mummy

Roy, R

28-30

N

510

2-4

Ramona Quimby, Age 8

Cleary, B

34-38

O

860

3-4

A Bad Case of Stripes

Shannon, D

34-38

P

540

2-3

Animals Nobody Loves

Simon, S

40

Q

860

2-4

Charlotte’s Web

White, EB

40

R

680

3-5

The Great Gilly Hopkins

Paterson, K

44-50

S

800

3-5

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Lewis, C.S.

44-50

T

940

3-5

Julie and the Wolves

George, JC

44-50

U

860

3-5

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Rowling, JK

44-50

V

880

6-8

Percy Jackson: The Battle of the Labyrinth

Riordan, R

60

W

590

8-10

My Thirteenth Winter

Abeel, S

60

X

1050

3-5

White Fang

London, J

60

Y

970

3-5

The Hunger Games

Collins, S

70-80

Z

1240

6

 

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