A Field Guide To The Classroom Library
Lucy Calkins and The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Community
About the Guides
How To Use This Site
Shopping Cart
Browse Field Guides
Search Field Guides
home :: how to use this site :: the levels within the libraries :: text level one
how to use this site
Text Level One Back

This level roughly corresponds to the following levels in other systems:

Reading Recovery©(RR) Levels 1-2
Developmental Reading Assessment(DRA) levels A-2

Text Characteristics for TC Level One:
  • The font is large, clear and is usually printed in black on a white background.

  • There is exaggerated spacing between words and letters. (In some books, publishers have enlarged the print but have not adjusted the spacing which can create difficulties for readers.)

  • There is usually a single word, phrase, or simple sentence on a page, and the text is patterned and predictable. For example, in the book I Can Read, once a child knows the title (which is ideally read to a Level One reader) it is not hard for the child to read "I can read the newspaper," "I can read the cereal box." These readers are regarded as "preconventional" because they rely on the illustrations (that support the meaning) and the sounds of language (or syntax) and not on graphophonics or word/letter cues to read a sentence such as, "I can read the newspaper."

  • Usually each page contains two or three sight words. A Level 1 book may contain one illustrated word on a page (such as "Mom," "Dad," "sister," "cat") but it's just as easy for a child to read "I see my mom. I see my Dad. I see my sister. I see my cat." because the sight words give the child a way into the text.

  • The words are highly supported by illustrations. No one would expect a Level 1 reader to solve the word "newspaper." We would, however, expect a child at this level to look at the picture and at the text and to read the word "newspaper."

  • Words are consistently placed in the same area of each page, preferably top left or bottom left.

Characteristics of the reader:
(Readers in this group will demonstrate most of the behaviors listed below)
  • Remember the pattern in a predictable text

  • Use picture cues

  • Use left to right directionality to read one or two lines of print

  • Work on matching spoken words with printed words and self-correcting when these don't "come out even"

  • Rely on the spaces between words to signify the end of one word and the beginning of another These readers read the spaces as well as the words, as the words are at first black blobs on white paper

  • Locate one or two known words on a page

The following titles are representative of the kinds of books found in this grouping.

Growing Colors, Bruce McMillan
The Farm, Literacy 2000/Stage 1
I Can Write, Rozanne Williams
Time for Dinner, PM Starters
Cat on the Mat, Brian Wildsmith
A Birthday Cake, Joy Cowley

The following titles can be used to determine if a reader is ready to move on to the next grouping of books. This type of assessment is most effective if the text is unfamiliar to the reader. If these titles will be used as assessment texts, they should not be part of the classroom library.

The Tree Stump, Little Celebrations
My Home, Story Box
DRA assessments A-2

We move children from Level 1 to Level 2 books when they are consistently able to match one spoken word with one word written on the page. This means they can point under words in a Level 1 book as they read and know when they haven't matched a spoken word to a written word by noticing that, at the end of the line, they still have words left on the page or they've run out of words. When children read multi-syllabic words and compound words and point to multiple, instead of one, word on the page, we consider this a successful one-to one match.

Next: Text Level Two

FAQ Contact Us Privacy Policy Shipping Info Copyright Info Suggestion Box
A Field Guide to Your Classroom Library, Lucy Calkins and the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project,
Heinemann © 2002, Teachers College, Columbia University;