100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Everything You Need to Know About Reading Levels, in One Image

Reading Levels

“No, the new Rainbow Magic Fairy book is a little too difficult for you. Try The Marvels instead.”

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Best thing today.

  2. Eric Carpenter says:

    Love this.

  3. Whoa.

  4. We wouldn’t want kids to choke on those rainbows. The Marvels is much easier to digest.

  5. Are there even any words IN the Marvels??? I didn’t see any as I was processing it! Did they figure in the publications page for their numbers???

    • Jennifer, don’t let it fool you! The middle section is very text heavy. It took me much longer to read than I estimated.

    • Travis Jonker says:

      There are indeed words in The Marvels, Jennifer! The point I’m trying to make is that Selznick’s book is much more complex, nuanced, and sophisticated – definitely a book that would work best with grades 5/6 and up – than the Rainbow Magic book, which is intended for a lower elementary audience.

  6. This image sums up everything I battle against in my professional life. Gah!

  7. Andrew Clements Things Not Seen is Lexile 690, while his books Frindle is 830. Explain that one.

    • libraryliteracygal says:

      I recommend Fountas & Pinnell leveling first, followed by DRA leveling – Lexile has never made much sense to me. Fountas & Pinnell levels Things Not Seen as “V” (~DRA 50), and Frindle as “R” (~DRA 40), which is much more consistent with the content. Hope this helps!

      (on a side note — The Rainbow Magic Series books are an “L” (DRA 24), and The Marvels is about a U (DRA 50)). I wish they would stop advertising Lexile levels : ).

  8. Linda Ward-Callaghan says:

    This is so funny! !

  9. AMMadalyn says:

    Quick! Everyone forward this image to all the elementary school teachers you know…help STOP the Lexile madness! Oh, and don’t forget PARENTS of elementary school students…!

  10. Just right book: A kid wants to read it and can understand it. All the leveling systems are ballpark measures that can be somewhat helpful, but so often aren’t. The saddest is to hear from a kid: “I’m a level D reader.” Or whatever level. Sigh.