Skip to Main Content
Terry James Resources Centre
Search for Video and Kit library
Search for Resource Library

Levelled Readers

The practice of purchasing levelled books, used to support guided reading instruction in classrooms is not consistent with the values of school libraries and our collection development procedures. We will no longer be accepting levelled readers for cataloguing for our school library collections.

Why the Change?

In the school library children have the opportunities to acquire, develop and use important lifelong skills that will enable them to select their own reading materials. Levelled collections in libraries inhibit the use of authentic strategies for selection and directly contradict the message of pursuing reading for the interest and passion it inspires. Worse still, it may exacerbate reluctance and resistance to reading, stigmatize struggling readers, and mislead others into believing that reading level is the important criteria in choosing a ‘just right’ book.

What is a Levelled Reader?

A levelled book collection is a large set of books organized in levels of difficulty from the easy book that an emergent reader might begin to the longer, complex books that advanced readers will select. Usually there are multiple copies of many books. There might be ten levels for grades K-1 and three of four levels for each later grade. They may be levelled by colour, by number, by letter based on a standard (eg. Lexiles, Fountas and Pinnell). Typically they will include a word count and questions about the text at the back. terminology and a teacher’s guide. Levelled readers are not the same as beginning readers or early chapter books which are perfectly acceptable for school library purchases. 

Please do not use your limited library budget to purchase levelled readers that are meant for a classroom guided reading program. 

Examples of Levelled Reading Series: 


Sails, Blueberry Hill, Flying start to Literacy, Reaching Readers, Rising Readers, PM (Nelson)


Alize, En avant, Les petits livres de la colline des Bleuets, Petits curieux, Du plaisir a lire


British Columbia Teacher Librarian’s Association. Levelling and School Library Collections. BCTLA Annual General Meeting, 2009. Retrieved September 22, 2014