Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions: Suggested Reading Levels

How can a book be recommended for ages 0-4 (or 4-8)? Isn't it ludicrous to think that a book might be a good fit for both a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old? Or, that a 4-year-old and 8-year-old might read at the same level?

Use these suggestions to help gauge the interest level instead of the reading level of a book. And, keep in mind that these are guidelines only!

According to the publisher's website, the suggested reading level for Felicia Bond's charming book Tumble Bumble* is ages 2 to 5 for the board book version and ages 4 to 8 for the paper back version. Interestingly, the two versions are exactly the same in terms of text. Below I have suggested some ways that children of varying ages might enjoy this fun book.

  • Chewing on the pages (board books are almost indestructible, and are literally toys at this age)
  • Brightly colored illustrations
  • Cuddling with parents or caregivers during story time
  • Hearing the voice of a loved one
  • The rhythm and cadence of the story

  • The rhyming text (either the rhythm the rhymes create, or shouting out the last word of the sentence)
  • Identifying all of the familiar animals in the story
  • Counting (9 animals and 1 boy)
  • The humorous illustrations

  • The story itself
  • The funny characters
  • The surprise ending
  • Matching the text to the illustrations
  • "Reading" or retelling the story (or their version of the story)
  • Eventually reading the story independently

As you can see, there are aspects of Tumble Bumble that make it an enjoyable read for all ages. Felicia Bond's animal filled walk was a favorite of both of my girls from a very early age, and continues to appear in our nightly reading rotation. Had I strictly adhered to the publisher's recommended reading level, I would still be waiting to introduce this favorite to my children. Let your knowledge of your children and their interests be your guide.

Laughing Giraffe Books includes Tumble Bumble in the following collections: Little Books, Big Fun and Books For Little Hands. Click on the links to order, or for more information.

* Bond, Felicia, Tumble Bumble. New York, NY: HarperCollins Children's Books, 1999.


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