August 7, 2013

Providing Leveled Short Stories

First of all, I have to send a huge thank you to all of you who offered suggestions to my anchor chart question. I was able to get concrete advice from a number of commenters, and I definitely feel like I have a better grasp on how I can use anchor charts in my classroom. And, I must admit, I felt relieved to know that I was not alone in my confusion. Thank you to those who echoed my sentiments as well!

Today, I have a new question I want to pose... (I'm thinking this may need to be a series... maybe even a linky series (but there are already SO many of them)...because I honestly found it to helpful to ask you all share your expertise!)

Differentiation was the big buzz word when I was getting my teaching certificate. It's always on the forefront of my mind. How can I modify this for X group or student?

One of the most obvious ways I do this in my classroom is by providing leveled texts. And I don't just mean novels for independent reading or book clubs. I use short stories and articles all the time in my classroom. They are useful for guided reading, Articles of the Week, and other skills-based practice we do in the classroom because we can finish them and check for understanding during one class period.

It's easy to choose novels that are at the right levels for my students because there are websites all over that have done that work for me. I know news media is supposedly written at a seventh grade level, but that doesn't take into account the content (although, neither do Lexile levels, which is why I don't like them).

I'm really good (in my humble opinion) at providing high-interest texts, but I need a way to determine if the structure and language are appropriate for my readers.

Is there a magical formula I can use??

How do you approach this in your classroom?


  1. I believe there is a way to type a snippet of the article in Microsoft Word and there is an option where it will tell you the level. You may have to google it. I was shown in college how to do it and I can't remember.

  2. You definitely want to try News ELA! I found it about a month ago.
    Newsela builds close reading and critical thinking skills. Give your students a new way to climb the staircase of nonfiction reading comprehension, from fourth grade to college-ready. It automatically gives each student the version of an article that's just right for his or her reading ability. And an easier or harder version of each article is just a click away. Articles are accompanied by Common Core-aligned quizzes to provide quick and powerful feedback. You'll always know whether your students are on track and where they're falling short.

    The best this is that right now it's free!

    Here's the link:

    Surviving Sixth Grade