Just Right Books

    What is a Just Right Book?   Book Icon

The books your child reads at school are often leveled from easier to harder in the order of the alphabet. Levels are only an approximation, and within each level some books may be easier or harder. Levels are related to approximate grade level benchmarks. 'Grade level' means the kinds of texts that students at that grade are typically reading. See table below for the grade level expectations in Portland Public Schools. It is important that they begin instruction at their instructional reading level and that children understand what they are reading. Books students read during private reading time (at home or at school) should be at their independent text reading level and these books are often referred to as 'Just Right' books. Teachers use the following ten features to determined a book level for a title:

  • Genre: The type of the book
  • Text Structure: How the book is organized and presented
  • Content: The subject matter of a book
  • Themes and Ideas: The big ideas that are communicated by the author
  •  Language and Literary Features: The types of writing techniques employed by the writer
  • Sentence Complexity: How challenging the syntax is of each sentence
  • Vocabulary: The frequency of new words introduced in the book
  • Words: The ease at which the words in the book can be figured out or decoded by a reader
  • Illustrations: The correlation and consistency of images and pictures in the books to the words printed on the page
  • Book and Print Features: The physical aspects of the printed word on the page

Adapted from Guiding Readers and Writers by Fountas and Pinnell, 2001, pages 193, 228-229. 
Read more about Just Right Books in Leveled Books A-Z

Independent Reading Levels

Portland Public Schools

 Grade

Benchmark Levels

K

A - D

1

D - J

2

J - N

3

N - Q

4

Q - T

5

T - V