I knew I wanted to start every student on the yellow level. No matter what upper elementary grade they are in, I have found that the yellow level is a good level to start with to assess the reading and writing skills of students. I don't know the academic skills or behaviors of most of these students, but the yellow level is a good level to get to know them.
For Monday, students researched on the yellow level and completed at least one report and several students began a second research topic. At the end of our first meeting, I asked the students what topics they wanted to research and took notes on their ideas.
On Thursday, I decided to read a nonfiction book to them about Pluto as I would any other read aloud. I explained that the book was a blue level, but it could be read in just one sitting and it was fairly typical of a blue level book. I reviewed the parts of the nonfiction book and when students would use each part.
A read aloud, a mini writing lesson, and continue researching using the Leveled Research Library
For Monday, all my researchers returned plus some new students that signed up. I read aloud to them a book about Australia from the blue level.