Levels A/B Text Characteristics:
- A simple word, phrase or text on each page.
- Patterned and predictable text.
- Larger, easy to read font.
- Exaggerated spacing between words.
- Illustrations are highly supportive of the text.
- One or two familiar words “anchor” children to the text (high frequency words.)
- Consistent placement of text on the pages.
Examples: A: Growing Colors by Bruce McMillan B: Cat on the Mat by Brian Wildsmith
Levels C/D Text Characteristics
- One to three short, simple sentences on each page.
- Slight pattern change either in the beginning, middle or at the end of the book.
- Consistent placement of text with one or two minor changes.
- Good spacing and larger font.
- Highly supportive illustrations that have few extraneous details.
- A few high frequency words appear throughout the book.
Examples: C: All Fall Down by Brian Wildsmith D: Rain by Robert Kalan
Level E Text Characteristics
- More variation in placement of text on the pages.
- Sentences are longer and more complex.
- Opening and closing sentences vary.
- Moderate to high support from illustrations that contain details related to the meaning of the whole text.
- Some repetition of phrases, words or sentences.
Examples: Mrs. Wishy Washy by Joy Cowley It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw
Levels F/G Text Characteristics
- Text contains more challenging vocabulary.
- Repetition of three or more phrases or sentence patterns throughout the book.
- Illustrations provide moderate support.
- Language structure and patterns may be more varied and complex.
- The content may often include a dingle character or story line throughout the book.
Examples: F: Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins G: The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
Levels H/I Text Characteristics
- Sentence patterns are longer, varied and more complex.
- Greater use of literacy or story language: “Once upon a time…, There once lived…, A long, long time ago…”
- May include repeated pattern in cumulative form with more and more text added to each page.
- Low picture support.
- There will be more unfamiliar and often complex vocabulary.
Examples: H: Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown I: Hattie and the Fox by Mem Fox
Level J Text Characteristics
- Dialogue often carries a large part of the story.
- Descriptive language is used more frequently.
- May include traditional retellings of fairy tales and folktales.
- Considerable amount of text on each page. May be a picture book or simple chapter book with extended stretches of text.
- Limited picture support.
- Includes challenging vocabulary.
Examples: Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff The very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Series: Henry and Mudge and Mr. Putter and Tabby both by Cynthia Rylant
Level K Text Characteristics
- Dialogue is used frequently to move the story along.
- May include extended descriptions.
- Early chapter books range from having episodic chapters to books in which each chapter contributes to the understanding of the entire book.
- Limited picture support, with pictures often appearing on different pages from the corresponding text.
- Includes challenging and unusual vocabulary.
Examples: Keep the Lights Burning Abbie by Peter Roop
Series: Nate the Great by Marjorie Sharmat Lionel by Stephen Krensky
Level L Text Characteristics
- One or two characters are featured.
- Characters are likely to develop and change in response to the events of the text.
- Vocabulary includes more multisyllable words.
- There are illustrations on some pages, but there are some whole pages without print.
Examples: Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse byLeo Lionni
Series: Cam Jansen by David Adler Amelia Bedilia by Peggy Parish
Level M Text Characteristics
- Texts have many whole pages of print without illustrations.
- Chapters are longer.
- Most texts have a great deal of text in smaller print with narrower word spacing.
- Vocabulary is greatly expanded including many multisyllable words.
- Biographies require readers to think about historical concepts.
Examples: Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
Series: Matt Christopher Series by Matt Christopher Junie B. Jones by Barbara Parks
Level N Text Characteristics
- Topics of informational text go beyond the reader’s experience.
- Chapter books present memorable characters that are well developed and change in response to the events of the story.
- Book offer an opportunity to feel empathy for characters and to experiece suspense.
- Writers use devices such as irony to create interest.
- Characters are revealed through what they say, think, and do.
- Informational texts contain many technical words, which are usually explained within the text.
- Biographies are longer and focus on subjects that are less well known to students.
Examples: My Name is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada
Series: The Zack Files Series by Patricia Reilly Giff
Level O Text Characteristics
- Characters deal with serious problems such as war and death.
- Texts have only few illustrations, and they are usually black and white drawing or photographs.
- Vocabulary is sophisticated and varied.
- Highly complex sentences require a full range of punctuation, which is important for accessing meaning of the text.
- Includes a wide variety of genre, including realistic fiction, historical fiction, biography, science fiction, humor, and traditional literature.
Examples: Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
Series: Boxcar Children Series by Gertrude Chandler Warner Baby-Sitters Club Mystery by Ann M. Martin
Angel Park Soccer Stars by Dean Hughes
Level P Text Characteristics
- Fiction texts include novels with longer chapters.
- Characters are concerned with issues about growing up and family relationships.
- Texts are longer, have more complex ideas and language, and use a more sophisticated vocabulary.
- Texts include more detailed descriptions of the setting.
- More interpretation is required to understand the themes.
- Many texts are long, requiring readers to sustain interest and attention over several days.
Examples: Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl Series: Encyclopedia Brown Series by Donald J. Sobol
Level Q Text Characteristics
- Chapter books employ a complex sentence structure and more difficult vocabulary.
- Themes require interpretation: characters are memorable and prompt empathy for and understanding of how they change.
- Thoughts of characters are revealed in a variety of ways – through dialogue and from the viewpoint of the characters.
- Some books have a more mature theme, focusing on problems of society as they affect children.
Examples: Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary Aliens Ate My Homework by Bruce Coville
Series: American Girls Collection Series Little House on the Prairie by Laura Wilder Ingalls
Level R Text Characteristics
- Extend the skills needed for level Q over a wider variety of text.
- Vocabulary is sophisticated, requiring understanding of the connotative shadings of meaning.
- Literary devices such as metaphor and simile require background knowledge.
- Information books such as biography and autobiography, extend readers’ understanding and takes them to places distant in time and space.
- Books may deal with mature themes with political or historical events or environmental information.
Examples: Fig Pudding by Ralph Fletcher Hatchet by Gary Paulsen Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Level S Text Characteristics
- Texts present complex ideas and information that will be a good foundation for discussion.
- Reflect a wide variety of topics and cultures.
- Words present many shadings of meaning that readers must construct from their interpretation.
- Genres at this level include many works of historical fiction and biographies.
- Texts present settings that are far distant from students’ own experiences.
- Literary selections offer opportunities for the readers to make connections with previously read text as well as with historical events.
Examples: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson The Creicket in Time Square by George Selden
On My Honor by Marion Cane Bauer Series: We The People, various titles by Betsy Byars
Level T Text Characteristics
- Chapter books are long and require the reader to recognize character development.
- All selections contain sophisticated language requiring the reader to analyze in terms of both literal and connotative meanings.
- Genres include Fantasy, Historical Fiction, informational books, Biographies, and Realistic Fiction
- Readers need to know more about political and historical events and about problems of different cultural and racial groups.
Examples: Sounder by William Armstrong The Watsons Go To Birmingham-1963 Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
Level U Text Characteristics
- Informational texts cover a wide range of topics and present specific technical information.
- Illustrations require interpretation and connection to text.
- Narrative texts are complex; there are plots and subplots.
- Texts typically have several different themes and many characters.
- Characters are complex, with multiple dimensions to their personality.
- Themes are more abstract.
Examples: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt The View From Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg
Insects by Bettina Bird & Joan Short Julie of the Wolves by Jean C. George
Level V Text Characteristics
- Biographies, at this level, provide a significant amount of historical information. They focus on harsh themes and difficult period of history.
- Science fiction themes present sophisticated ideas and concepts.
- Texts require the reader to think critically.
- Full appreciation of text requires noticing aspects of the writer’s crafts.
- Text may be 200-300 pages.
Examples: The Fighting Ground by Avi Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli Series: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
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