Reading: Text level guide

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1 Reading: Text level guide Text level guide for seen text and accompanying background information. As teachers we provide the range of experiences and the instruction necessary to help children become good readers early in their school careers. All children possess the fundamental attributes they need to become literate The key is good first teaching. Fountas and Pinnell, 1996, Guided Reading: good first teaching for all children, p1 This Text level guide has been written to assist teachers, principals, regional and central personnel to evaluate students progress and to help set local targets when gathering reading data.

2 Text level guide for reading seen texts Highlighting broadbands at the end of reception, year one and year two End reception End year one End year two Remember: Use SEEN text, and analyse the processing NOT merely the percentage score. Literacy characteristics at broadband levels on the Text level guide Blue Broadband (Levels 9 11) Turquoise & Purple Broadbands (Levels 17 20) Gold & Silver Broadbands (Levels 21 24) new vocabulary is repeated several times in a variety of sentences can have unusual and challenging vocabulary wide variety of words to assign dialogue (said, thought, whispered) & adverbs (quietly, loudly) greater vocabulary with more details specialised vocabulary used for some topics blend of oral & written language structures longer more complex sentences underlying structures description, compare/contrast, temporal sequence, problem/solution, cause/effect expanded narratives including longer and more conventional story with simple episodes straightforward plots with many episodes complex sentence patterns using literary language increased amount of text with variety of tenses have extended descriptions and elaborate chapters, table of content, headings, index, glossary episodes or events including chapter type books moderately supportive illustrations illustrations provide minimal support some books with very few illustrations simple graphics (often more than one kind) many opportunities to learn more about words further opportunities to establish patterns and understandings about words including inflections and first letter changes much more visual detail needed; rimes, 2 and 3 letter onsets, compound words greater variety of word types many 2-3 syllable words and multi-syllable words that are generally easy to take apart words with inflectional endings, complex letter-sound relationships, complex spelling patterns, plurals, contractions, possessives variety of fonts and text sizes, bold/italics, punctuation, sentences starting in the middle of the line increased complexity of text layout and print size many more words per page and a story may have up to 500 words include a wide variety of text type (genre) variety of genres and styles eg fiction and non-fiction, picture books, plays, chapter books This Text level guide for reading seen texts has been broadbanded, (text levels with similar literacy demands grouped together), within a range of levels to allow for individual student s developmental progress to be assessed. It is important to remember that Running Records are taken on seen texts and to remember to look beyond the percentage accuracy score and look also at how the student is processing text, for example analyse: the reading behaviours and strategies used the literacy demand involved within levels.

3 Magenta Broadband (Levels 1 2) themes familiar to students, familiar objects and actions single idea or a simple story line print is regular, clear and easy to see illustrations provide high support introduce high frequency words consistent placement of print repetition of caption or sentences patterns oral language structures used opportunities for readers to begin to use visual information to check and monitor reading known words and initial letters can be used to confirm predictions themes familiar to students, familiar objects and actions Orange Broadband (Levels ) increased amount of text on page and stories are longer with more events varied and longer sentence structure wide range of punctuation events sustained over several pages more complex plot illustrations provide only moderate support and enhance meaning rather than the text larger number and more varied characters strong story plot specialized vocabulary used in fiction and non-fiction Red Broadband (Levels 3 5) books have complete stories little adventures illustrations provide high to moderate levels of support an introduction to book language there is a predictable format varied simple sentence patterns with 2-3 lines of text per page, with repetition of phrases and refrains moving to longer sentences range of punctuation presented opportunities for grapho-phonic information words in text require greater visual attention increased range of high frequency words Turquoise Broadband (Levels 17 18) stories are longer with more events and descriptions stories may have full pages of print illustrations enhance meaning rather than support text literally literary language integrated with natural language more challenging sentence structure strong story plot specialized vocabulary used in fiction and non-fiction longer descriptions including adjectives more unusual, challenging or specialized vocabulary Yellow Broadband (Levels 6 8) unusual events are presented in a framework of familiar experiences e.g. home, school varied simple sentence patterns supporting phrasing longer and more complex sentences; all punctuation used blend of oral and written language patterns illustrations provide moderate level of support increasing use of a range of high frequency words, vocabulary extended opportunities to visually analyse new or unusual words words requiring greater visual attention range of inflections are used illustrations now contain several ideas Purple Broadband (Levels 19 20) sentence structures are becoming longer and more complex longer stories with some full pages of text literary language and poetic language is included story plot becoming more involved, with more events increased number of characters and events non-fiction texts cover a range of curriculum areas more specialized vocabulary in nonfiction texts more extended descriptions Blue Broadband (Levels 9 11) Green Broadband (Levels 12 14) expanded narratives; longer and straightforward sentence and more complex sentence patterns structures continue with supportive using literary language phrases and placement increased amount of text with varied sentence patterns which variety of tenses may have repeated phrases or blend of oral and written language refrains structures complete story develops with more specialised vocabulary used for episodes using literary language some topics illustrations provide lower level of further opportunities to establish support patterns and understandings about specialised vocabulary for some words including inflections and first topics letter changes opportunities to extend reader s increased complexity of text layout understanding of words and their and print size relationships moderately supportive illustrations continues theme of building on greater vocabulary with more situations that are possibly familiar details to students many opportunities to learn more further opportunities to learn how about words words work new vocabulary repeated several times in a variety of sentences Gold Broadband (Levels 21 22) Silver Broadband (Levels 23 24) texts at these levels are written for students who are older and who have greater life and book experiences and are not always appropriate for younger students wide variety of genre, including longer and more complex sentences readers generally orchestrate several kinds of information as they engage in reading continuous texts informational texts cover a wide range of new and familiar topics When we think about levels of texts, we are always exploring combinations of characteristics. Not every characteristic typical of a level applies to every text categorized at that level. A certain factor makes one text challenging; something else presents a challenge in a different text. Thinking about levels in this complex way may seem difficult, but it helps us in our teaching. We want children to experience different combinations of demands so that they expand their reading powers It is also true that some characteristics are extremely important in differentiating texts at earlier levels, while others become important later on Factors such as technical vocabulary, idea sophistication, theme maturity, and sentence complexity are important in the assessment at all levels. Fountas and Pinnell, 2005, Levelled Books K-8, p103 Creating a text gradient means classifying books along a continuum based on the combination of variables that support and confirm readers strategic actions and offer the problem-solving opportunities that build the reading process. Fountas and Pinnell, 2006, Teaching for Comprehension and Fluency: Thinking, Talking, and Writing About Reading, K-8, p52

4 The text level guide Establishing appropriate broadbands for year levels in the Text level guide for reading seen texts. In arriving at the suggested broadbands for year levels, consideration was given to: student s various chronological age ranges and the varying number of terms at school interstate expectations international expectations South Australian Running Records data approximate reading ages publishers guidelines the literacy demands and content of texts teacher feedback recommendations from Reading Recovery Tutors. Parents, teachers, principals, regional and central personnel requested a guide as a means to assist them to evaluate student s progress and to help set local targets. When setting targets, local data and local perspectives need to be considered by the schools and region. How the levels can be used Recording the change over time in the text reading levels of students is one way of measuring and monitoring student s reading growth. These levels are ascertained through taking, quantifying and analysing Running Records. Taking and analyzing Running Records on a continuous ongoing basis for classroom use, supports teachers to assist student s reading development. The DECS centrally collected data occurs twice a year and is entered into EDSAS. This data records each child s highest Instructional Reading Level (see examples) on seen texts. It is important to note that although the second central data collection is in September, the Text level guide refers to broadbands at the end of the school year. The guide refers to Text levels for seen texts. Finding the Highest Instructional Text Level: 3 Examples Example 1 Text Level Accuracy Level of Difficulty Level 3 99% Easy Level Level 4 93% Instructional Level Level 5 89% Hard Level Highest Instructional Level is Level 4 Example 2 Text Level Accuracy Level of Difficulty Level 3 99% Easy Level Level 4 96% Easy Level Level 5 87% Hard Level Highest Instructional Level is Level 4 Example 3 Text Level Accuracy Level of Difficulty Level 3 99% Easy Level Level 4 93% Instructional Level Level 5 92% Instructional Level Level 6 90% Instructional Level Level 7 89% Hard Level Highest Instructional Level is Level 6 Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone s business 1 Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone s business 2 Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone s business 3 In order to ascertain the Instructional Text Level, you need to take a minimum of 2 Running Records. A text at 89% or below confirms the highest Instructional Text Level.

5 For consideration The text levels were originally designed as a Gradient of Text Difficulty which graded texts into colour bands, according to the complexity and challenges contained in them. This Gradient of Text Difficulty could then assist teachers to match young students to suitable texts at a pace suited to their learning capabilities. A gradient of text is not a precise sequence of texts through which all children pass. Books are leveled in approximate groups from which teachers choose particular books for individuals or reading groups. No text sequence will suit every child, but efficiency requires a leveled set from which to choose. Fountas and Pinnell, 1996, Guided Reading: good first teaching for all children, p113 In order to cater for students who were experiencing difficulty and needing extra intervention, levels with very gradual increments were introduced into each broadband or colour band. In classroom programs, however for the majority of students reading within the colour bands or broadbands is enough. When teachers teach within levels rather than broadbands in the classroom, it often stops them using books in a flexible way. Adapted from Fountas and Pinnell, 1996, Guided Reading: good first teaching for all children, p115 It is not possible, nor is it necessary to level texts for fluent-developing, fluent or fluent-extending readers in an individual level sequence for classroom programs. The interests of the students, their prior knowledge of the topic and the use of specialized or technical vocabulary will influence the level of difficulty for each student. Texts at these levels contain elaborated episodes and events introduce new genres and new ways of presenting texts allow for reading for different purposes develop responsive reading. Texts for these fluent-developing, fluent or fluent-extending readers can be selected for a specific purpose in the classroom program, taking into account a particular teaching focus the needs and interests of the students in the group a topic or theme to be studied a particular research assignment to be undertaken the background knowledge of the students. Texts other than levelled books A rich literature environment Although using levelled texts can support readers, it is important to have a rich variety of literature and good quality texts accessible within classrooms so that students can be exposed to, enjoy, hear, view and read good quality literature, work with multiple text types (including multi-modal) and understand that reading is not just about reading the levels.

6 Broadband text levels and approximate reading ages Colour Broadband Magenta Red Yellow Blue Green Orange Turquoise Purple Gold Silver Emerald Level (and approximate time spans to consolidate in each Level) Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 Level 6 Level 7 Level 8 Level 9 Level 10 Level 11 Level 12 Level 13 Level 14 Level 15 3 months Level 16 3 months Level 17 3 months Level 18 3 months Level 19 3 months Level 20 3 months Level 21 3 months Level 22 3 months Level 23 3 months Level 24 3 months Level 25 6 months Level 26 6 months Approximate reading age Texts in Levels 1 14 have a fine gradient of difficulty, so it is not possible to give a specific reading age to each level. However they would be within the reading age range 5 years 6.5 years. This fine gradient of difficulty in Levels is used in Reading Recovery but it may be more appropriate for classroom teachers to work within the colour broadbands years years years years years Please note: the s* are within a range and are suggested s only within each year level there will be students at a wide range of chronological ages as we move to single entry this will need to be revisited within each text level, the interests, prior knowledge and background of student impact on how they read a particular text. *adapted from PM Publishing Company

7 All things not being equal! The increments between the levels are not equidistant. This means that the gradient of complexity of text Levels 1 26 are not incrementally equal i.e. the majority of students typically move through the lower levels quite quickly, but take longer to move through the increasingly complex levels. Beware of Level Land The aim is for students to work broadly within levels/broadbands having a strong and solid foundation - reading with proficient, efficient strategies and with deep comprehension. If the texts are well matched to the readers, we will be expecting effective processing in terms of comprehending, fluency, and word solving. Readers should be able to read with phrasing and fluency and should be able to discuss the texts after reading. It is by behaving like proficient readers (with teacher support) at each level that readers get better. They use the gradient as a ladder of support. Fountas and Pinnell, 2005, Levelled Books K-8, p128 Be wary of Level Land. We need to:- have high, realistic and achievable expectations for all students be cautious about churning students through the levels too quickly arriving in Level Land, (or too slowly keeping students on Level 1 & 2 books for a very long time!) develop readers who are solid and strong, who have a repertoire of strategies, and know which ones to use and when develop readers who are able to read a variety of texts and genres develop readers who enjoy reading and choose to read as part of their lifestyle, who tell you enthusiastically about what they are reading not what level they are on look beyond the score on Running Records and determine how the student is processing text at each level. In addition to the text level and the percentage accuracy, teachers need to consider the influence of Students cultural contexts and background interests knowledge of the world ability to connect emotionally to the text deep understanding and comprehension experiences and passion to read a particular book literary and literacy experiences vocabulary and oral language. Texts suitability of text content quality and supportiveness of the texts development/complexity of language and vocabulary different text types teaching and learning program.

8 Challenges required to read fiction texts will vary from non-fiction texts at a specific level/broadband. Using levelled texts can assist with pairing the child to the right book at the right time, but is not the sole factor. Clearly, assessing the demands of a text is a complex task. As teachers, we are not thinking of the text in isolation but in relation first to readers in general and then to the particular readers we are teaching. Processing involves meeting the emotional as well as the cognitive demands of a text. Fountas and Pinnell, 2006, Teaching for comprehension and fluency: thinking, talking, and writing about reading, K-8, p7 References: Fountas, I.C. and Pinnell, G.S. 2006, Teaching for comprehension and fluency: thinking, talking, and writing about reading, K-8, Heinemann, Portsmouth, NH. Fountas, I.C and Pinnell, G.S. 2005, Levelled Books K-8, Heinemann, Portsmouth, NH. Fountas, I.C and Pinnell, G.S. 1996, Guided Reading: good first teaching for all children, Heinemann, Portsmouth, NH. Nelley, E. and Smith, A. 2000, PM Benchmark kit teachers notes, Nelson, Melbourne.

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