The Role of Word-, Sentence-, and Text-Level Variables in Predicting Guided Reading Levels of Kindergarten and First-Grade Texts

Hiebert, E.H. and Tortorelli, L.S., The Role of Word-, Sentence-, and Text-Level Variables in Predicting Guided Reading Levels of Kindergarten and First-Grade Texts. The Elementary School Journal, Volume 122, Number 4, June 2022. https://doi.org/10.1086/719658

Texts classified according to guided reading levels (GRL) are ubiquitous in U.S. beginning reading classrooms. This study examined features of texts across three grade bands (kindergarten, early first grade, final first grade) and the 10 GRLs within these bands. The 510 texts came from three programs with different functions in beginning reading instruction: core, intervention, and content areas. Text features were decoding, semantics, structure, and syntax from the Early Literacy Indicators system, mean sentence length (MSL) and mean log word frequency (MLWF) from the Lexile Framework, and word count. Five variables predicted GRLs of texts: semantics, structure, syntax, MSL, and word count. Differences in decoding and MLWF across grade bands were few and neither variable predicted levels of texts. Intervention texts had lower decoding and MLWF demands than core or content-area texts. Implications of a lack of discernible progressions in decoding and MLWF are discussed.

"Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear." —

Judy Blume