Reading levels can be a great tool or strategy for teaching, but they shouldn’t be used to discourage kids from reading to their younger siblings or from stretching themselves to explore a book that looks interesting.
Here’s a great post from Choice Literacy called the Tyranny of Reading Levels:
“Education has produced a vast population able to read, but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.
G. M. Trevelyan
“Once upon a time, there was a third-grade girl, Daisy, who loved to read. She read all the time. While she liked to read about horses and outer space, she especially loved to read stories. She had read every single Magic Tree House, Junie B. Jones, and Amber Brown book ever written. Recently, she had been into reading books about animals and had read Shiloh and Charlotte’s Web.
One day, as she browsed through books at the school library, she found a book with a beautiful cover of a girl wearing glasses holding a comic book. When she saw it, she thought, “that girl looks like me!” She ran her fingers over the letters scrawled grandly across the cover and read the title aloud: Flora and Ulysses. It was then that she noticed a small animal tucked up in the corner which compelled her to read the back cover. As her eyes skimmed over the words describing a story about a squirrel who gets run over by a vacuum cleaner and strangely develops super powers, she opened the book and began to read.” Read the rest of the piece here.