Submitted by pinelands on

When your child starts to read independently, it’s not uncommon for the initial feelings of joy and excitement to be immediately followed by worry that you won’t know how to support this newfound skill. What should they read next? How will I know what is appropriate for their reading level? What can further complicate things is that schools use any one of a variety of leveled reading systems and public libraries do not have a system that directly correlates with these reading levels. has a great article called Learn About Leveled Reading that helps explain the differences between the three most common leveled reading systems used in schools. Here at BCLS, all eight of our branches have the following in each youth services department:

  • Board Books – cardboard books meant to withstand throwing, ripping, and occasional chewing
  • Easy Fiction – picture books meant for reading aloud
  • Easy Readers – ideal for emerging readers
  • Chapter Books – short, manageable chapters for new readers
  • Junior Fiction – spans a large range of reading levels, generally from grades three to six
  • Teen Fiction – in public libraries, these are generally books over a fifth grade reading level
    • read more on the overlap of Junior and Teen Fiction, check out our Totally Teen Fiction blog post from last year

BCLS has two helpful resources to assist you in finding a book in one of these areas that’s just right for your child.

  • Novelist K-8 – This database can be accessed from home through our website at any time. You will just need your library card and PIN number to log in. Readers of all ages can find a good book to read with ‘read-a-like’ recommendations by title, author or series. Using a current favorite book or author is always a great starting point to find something similar, or kids can discover new titles and read by genre. Parents also have the ability to create reading lists on this database.
  • Graded Reading Lists – The kids page of our website features a section for reading recommendations based on grade level. We offer reading lists for pre-k up to grade six. Our teen page has reading recommendations based on genre for grades seven and up.

And if you’re really feeling stuck, you’re always welcome to stop by your local branch and ask your friendly neighborhood children’s librarian, like Ms. Holly or Ms. Danielle, where to start.