On our blog, we’ll be using the term “Reading Level” or “F&P Level” quite often. “F&P” is short for Fountas & Pinnell, which is a literacy company. The Fountas & Pinnell assessment is our prefered method of assessing a student’s reading level, but other tests like the Teachers College assessment or DRA also allow you to get a reliable measure of your students’ ability to decode words, read fluently and comprehend texts. The Teachers College assessment also happens to be free, and thus it’s a great resource to use if your school does not have a testing system in place yet.
Each of these tests does tend to be a bit time intensive. However, it’s worth it! As teachers, we need to know exactly what skills kids have and which skills they don’t have yet, in order to help them pick the right books and give them the right instruction.
Reading levels are also correlated to grade level, and you can find that here for F&P, so it allows us to know if our students are on, below or above grade level. This helps us to sort students and determine the supports that they need in order to make strong reading growth.