Skip to main content

Research Report

Limiting Children to Books They Can Already Read: Why It Reduces Their Opportunity to Learn

Publication date:

A recent survey aimed at identifying the most popular current programs used to teach reading found that one common feature of all the top sellers was that they organize their teaching around leveled books. Other recent surveys show that teaching reading with leveled books is on the increase and that teachers believe it is endorsed or supported by their state educational standards, though, in most cases, it is not. Might students do even better if taught with books they cannot already read so well? In this article, the author examines the research on leveled reading approaches and offers more effective ways that classroom teachers can ensure their students acquire the skills and knowledge they need to not only read a text but also comprehend it. The author also provides a short history on leveled reading programs.


Shanahan, T. (2020). Limiting children to books they can already read. American Educator, 44(2), 13-17, 39.