Ready! ... Gathering Materials, Leveling Books, and Creating Questions for
Welcome to the first step in setting up a Leveled Research Library. This page will assist in gathering materials, leveling books, creating question templates, and exploring how students will use these templates to begin their journey to become independent and authentic researchers.
So, where to begin? I would start with your school library. If your school doesn't have a library, start with your public library in the Juvenile-nonfiction section and check out books you think your students will be able to read. I began with books that have one or two sentences for every two pages. This might not seem very rigorous, but remember nonfiction is more difficult to comprehend than fiction.
A Leveled Research Library at the beginning of a unit on researching.
Now, it is time to level the books and create question templates. I recommend the following guidelines when leveling your books and creating your questions for your classroom library.
The Red Level
The red level of these books have one sentence on a page.
This template design will have 5 questions for the students to research. Highlighting on the template by the teacher might be needed to assist students in answering a question with a complete sentences.
Questions should be very simple such as what, who, and where questions. The red level is very basic questions. The main objective of the red level is to learn the question-sentence relationship to create complete sentences.
The Yellow Level
These books have 2 sentences every 2 pages and the words could be more complex to read.
The templates will have 6 questions for the students to answer. Questions can be more high level thinking with a "how" or "why" on the template. Also, a question that requires the student to practice writing with commas in a series and an inference question can be used. (I usually signal these questions to the student and myself with a cloud or thinking bubble near it.)
Students will learn how to use pronouns and understand how to write proper sentences with no assistance from the teacher during this research level. By the time a student is ready to be able to move to the next research level, they will have mastered all of these types of questions.
Yellow Research Template
The Green Level
Green Research Template
These books have 3 or more sentences every two pages which will form one complete paragraph. They will usually contain more vocabulary words and have some captions for pictures.
The template design will have about 8 questions for the students to research. Students will already able to answer all types of questions with limited assistance from the teacher. Questions will be challenging with many how, why, and inference questions.
Students can also write their sentences in list form on a piece of lined paper and group these sentences into "paragraphs" and explain why they grouped them together. Not all students will be ready for this, but attempting this strategy with them each time will get them closer to understanding how to order sentences and paragraphs.
The Blue Level
These books are currently the most difficult to read for this leveling system. They will usually have 2 or more paragraphs every 2 pages, captions with the pictures, and other nonfiction text features such as an index and a glossary in which the students will have to use to answer some of the questions.
You can also plan some of your questions around these so they will have to use these parts of the book. This level can either have a question template with it or you can use a detail template with this level. Students in First Grade can answer 10 of the boxes on a detail template and cut the boxes apart. Students may glue the boxes on scrap paper and tell why they grouped them this way. Then, they can start writing their paper. Second graders can answer 15 of these details and third graders can complete all the details..
Blue Research Template