We all have the students who go to the school library and come back with a nonfiction book that is more than you would ever sit down and read because it would be information overload. All they do is look at the pictures, which is helpful in getting a child to use the pictures when reading. However, I want multiple reading strategies to be used at one time. I want them to be practicing doing both, using the pictures and getting meaning from the words on the page. A research library will naturally do both, along with so much more. (That is for another blog post.)
Red: These books are the lowest level and will have only one sentence every 2 pages.
Red: These books are the lowest level and will have only one sentence every 2 pages. If they have more than one sentence per page, I will declare them a yellow level. The font is larger than regular text. The red level is to assist students with starting the research process and to practice writing sentences.
Yellow: These books have two sentences every two pages. The words could be more complex to read and they are printed in a big font, like the red level. Students will learn to use a glossary at this level, because some words may be bold. The books are simply written with no extra captions or fancy nonfiction text features, such as insets or complicated diagrams.
Green: These books have more than 3 sentences every 2 pages and they will usually form one paragraph per page. They will contain more vocabulary words and have limited captions for pictures. Sometimes, they have fancy text features, which can be confusing to some students, but as long as the text every 2 pages does not exceed a paragraph, they are a green level book.
Blue: These books are currently the most difficult to read for this leveling system. A true blue book will have 2 to 3 paragraphs every 2 pages. They can have captions with the pictures and other fancy text features. Students may have to use other nonfiction text features such as the index, the glossary, and the table of contents to navigate the information. These books are still able to be read during silent reading time. I do use these books will a question template to support the writing for some students, but mostly I use them with a detail template for researching with single or multiple resources. These books are great for researching in upper elementary grades.
As teachers, we are short on time and overloaded with concepts to teach for mastery. Teaching students how to research takes a large chunk of time that is rarely available especially in the elementary grades. Once the process is taught, research from The Leveled Research Library becomes supplementary material in the classroom. Students can research once their classwork is finished. The library will provide many opportunities for the students to create reports and hone their writing skills each and every day. Mastering the art of writing takes time and having a Leveled Research Library in the classroom will scaffold students to learn how to research and so much more.