The Book Nook, with Black Bear Books

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Kindergarten and First Grade are such exciting times for parents of young readers and there are so many different titles and resources available for you to explore with your new reader. Don’t feel like you have to give up reading to your children at this age, they’ll still love sharing that time with you and it will improve their reading skills to follow along with you as you read. “We Both Read” books are a great way to take turns reading from the same book. While parents read a more difficult passage : “Now Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter, said old Mrs. Rabbit, ’You may go down the lane to gather berries, but don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s garden: your Father had an accident there, he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.”, children read simpler text: “Flopsy went to pick berries. Mopsy went to pick berries. Cottontail went to pick berries, too. But not Peter.” Difficult words in the child’s text are introduced in bold lettering in the parent’s text.

Different publishers may use different demarcations to rate the reading level of their books. Some use numbers and some use letters, but the scale usually refers to the same skill sets.

Level One – Ready to Read

  • Simple sentences
  • Big type
  • Easy words
  • Picture Clues
  • Rhyme and Rhythm
Level Two – Reading with Help
  • Basic vocabulary (recognizable)
  • Longer sentences and stories
  • Easy-to-follow format
Level Three – Reading on Your Own
  • Character development
  • Popular topics
  • Varied sentence structure
  • Designed to promote independent reading
Level Four – Reading Paragraphs
  • More challenging vocabulary
  • Short paragraphs
  • Fiction and nonfiction titles
  • Emphasis on reading for meaning
Level Five – Ready for Chapters
  • Longer paragraphs
  • Chapters
  • Corresponding artwork
  • Series include Junie B. Jones, The Magic Treehouse and The Secrets of Droon, among others.
Your child’s teacher can clue you in as to what level your child is reading on, but if you feel that a book is too difficult or too easy for them it can’t hurt to try out a different level. Early exposure to books at the correct reading level is a great way to ensure a life-long love of reading! Books that are too hard can be off-putting, while books that are too easy won’t help them advance as quickly as they might. Use your best judgment!

The Black Bear Books children’s section maintains a separate shelf for leveled books to make them easy to find. Beginning chapter books are also available.

Black Bear Books also offers a Children’s Story Hour from 3-4 on Sundays. You can bring your laptop and go online with their free WiFi access, have a cup of great coffee, ad chat while your children are being entertained!

Erin Thompson, 26, is a relatively new transplant to Boone. After graduating from Elon University and spending a few years in Baltimore, she moved back to the area to pursue her Master’s degree in Public Administration. She started working in her family’s bookstore, Black Bear Books, and fell in love with the book industry, especially on a small-town scale. She especially enjoys introducing children and young adults to the books she enjoyed as a kid and is always happy to make a recommendation.

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About Sarah


Sarah Pinnix is a blogger, vlogger, new media marketing coach, and mom of three. Sarah began blogging in 2007 with Family Life & Faith blog Real Life Blog. She lives near Boone and works a social media specialist for a Non-Profit.