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Ready Readers

Books in the Ready Reader collection are written especially for Kindergartners through Second Graders who are learning to read independently. They span a wide range of reading abilities and the colored tape on a book’s spine may be used as a guide in making your selection. The tape color does not indicate a grade level.

Look on the book spine! 

When you visit Youth Services, check the spines of the books to navigate the Ready Reader collection by reading level.

Emergent: Getting Ready to Read (Red)

  • These books are dedicated to learning letters, the sounds they make, and word recognition
  • Simple, short stories
  • Large print
  • Repetitive, predictable, and/or rhyming text
  • One or two lines of text on each page
  • Uses decodable words and some sight words
  • Basic punctuation
  • Illustrations with white space filling in the rest
  • Clear visuals that give clues about the words and story
  • This level typically requires adult assistance

Early: Beginning to Read (Blue)

  • Continued clear picture/word connection for reading support or confirmation
  • Clear storyline
  • More words on each page and frequently used words
  • Continued use of repetition, rhyming, and predictable text
  • Occasional unfamiliar words and longer sentences
  • May be a range of font sizes
  • Wider variety of punctuation

Transitional: Beginning to Read Independently (Yellow)

  • Longer, more complex sentences and storylines; not as predictable
  • Several lines of text per page
  • 20 or more words per page
  • Fewer repetitive patterns and rhymes
  • Illustrations used for reading support and for story “atmosphere”

Fluent: Reading Independently (Green)

  • Longer sentences and more complex vocabulary
  • More complicated plot
  • Includes contractions and conversations in quotes
  • Text supports natural breaks (e.g., chapters)
  • Illustrations used primarily for story “atmosphere”
  • Little or no assistance required

Download a printable pamphlet of our color-coded leveling system

young girl sitting cross-legged outdoors with a book open in front of her, smiling and holding up her hand

Five Finger Rule

Your child's own personal book leveling system

• Have your child read any text-filled page of a book.
• When your child comes across a word they do not know, have them hold up one finger.
• At the end of the page, if your child has five fingers up, then the book is too difficult.
• If your child has no fingers up, then the book is too easy.
• Two or three fingers up is just about right!