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Helpful Reading Resources

Useful Reading Links for Parents of Gifted Students


How do I know my child’s reading level?

There are many different systems used to figure out reading levels, much of it depending on what reading assessment system a district has bought. Your child’s reading level is in their GIEP, their official gifted document that we review together every year. Look in section B, “Achievement Results”.


At Schwenksville we use the Fountas and Pinnell Reading Assessment (“F&P”) that uses levels A through Z. Testing for this is traditionally (but not always) done in the fall and at the end of the school year. This is often the first assessment listed in section B of the GIEP. (*Note that we do not currently test for Z+ levels.)


During the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years we have used MAPs testing (Compass). The results of MAPs includes a Lexile Range of your child’s reading skills (again, just another type of reading level assessment). This is often the final item listed in section B of the GIEP.


Check out this correlation chart. You’ll see there are definitely many reading assessment programs out there!


Is it OK that my child reads books that are above or below their actual level?

Yes! However, it’s good for you to have an idea of what your child’s actual ability level is so that you can monitor if they are consistently picking titles that are too easy. Variety is key!


We’ve run out of titles of age-appropriate mystery or fantasy, etc. Now what?

Just like us, our kiddos have favorite genres. Often times they tend to read voraciously in their preferred genre but completely ignore others. Occasionally challenge your child to step outside of their genre comfort zone. Biography? Poetry? Historical fiction? Mythology? Famous speeches? Why not try them all?!


I know reading is so important but my child goes through books so quickly! How can we save money on books?

Library. Library. Library. Free. Free. Free. Seriously though, be creative with that library card! If the title is anywhere in the PA system, your librarian can get it for you. Yes, Amazon and Barnes and Noble lists are addictive and become quite the rabbit hole - use them to your advantage. Write down the titles and go to the library armed with a list. Speaking of which, you don’t even have to spend much time at the actual library if your schedule doesn’t allow it. Personally I go online, request armfuls of books at a time, and then go pick them up once the majority of them have arrived. The library texts me to let me know when one has arrived - easy!

Additionally, for titles that are not within the PA library system, I will often buy them used online. There are a variety of sites out there; some I have used are: Thriftbooks, Better World Books, Alibris, Abe Books, Powell’s, and Goodwill Books.


Finally, I cannot stop singing the praises of our local librarians and independent bookstore owners/employees. They have an immense amount of knowledge and enthusiasm, and if your child has run out of their favorite series, or has hit a dry spell, or is in the mood to try something new, I have found that these individuals are incredibly helpful.


Below you will find some links that you may find helpful in keeping up with your above grade level reader. Please keep in mind that no one can replace YOU when it comes to making the judgement call of whether or not the content of a book is appropriate for your child. I only offer the following as resources to assist you in those decisions. Enjoy!

Curious about how challenging your child’s current book really is for them? Here you can enter a book title and it will give you the corresponding Lexile Range level. Alternatively, you can also input your child’s range and areas of interest, and it will formulate a list of suggested titles for you.

You need to sign-up for an account, but it is free. Searching under the “lists” page, you can enter a book title and see lists of vocabulary that may prove challenging, or that your child might need clarification with from that particular book. Definitions are given right there on the list.


Cliffs Notes

There are not as many titles as I would hope for here, but if you’re concerned about content, this would be worth a try. Enter the title and if it’s in the database, you can read the plot summary.


Spark Notes

Similar to the Cliffs Notes site above, this database is great for a check of content.


Common Sense Media

Great for different media types, not just books, this allows you to run searches based on your child’s age.


Newbery Award List

The Newbery Award is given annually to the author of “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” From 1922 to the present, this site presents a list of Newbery Award books, both winners and those that received honors.



The Scholastic site is a fantastic resource. Want to find books at your child’s level? Go here. Want to see a suggested list of Dystopian trilogies? Go here. Your child wants to read “The Fault in Our Stars” but you say no? Go here and find a “readalikes” list of more age-appropriate books. Want a suggestion on a great read aloud to enjoy as a family this summer? Go here.


Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Yep, simple but true! Go to a specific title. Read the editorial review, but also read some customer reviews (I like to read a few at the top of the range and a few at the bottom). You know that your child really enjoyed The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Look up that title and see “customers who bought this item also bought”. Then go request it at the library. Where it’s free...You know they’ll be done with it in a few hours or days anyway!


The Davidson Institute for Talent Development

This national nonprofit hosts a Gifted Issues Discussion Forum. They have consolidated posts about book recommendations and grouped them by age. Here is the thread for ages 9-12. Here is the thread for ages 6-8. (And here is my friendly reminder about you being the best judge of appropriate content for your child.)


Reading Lists for Your Gifted Child: Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page

Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page is a wonderful all around resource for you as a parent of a gifted child.


Recommended Books for Talented Readers

This PDF was written by a teacher for teachers. Beginning on page 2 you will find an alphabetical book list that mentions genre, topics or themes, and whether or not a gifted character is present. While a section also is shown for “appropriate for grades”, I hope you know what I’m going to again be the judge on appropriate content for your child.


Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth

Suggested titles are grouped by different grade bands. Don’t miss out on exploring the various tabs for different genres in each grade band (the page will open to “Children’s Classics” or “Adventure” but the lists continue under separate tabs). Here you will find the list for grades 2-4. Here you will find the list for grades 5-6.


Reading List for Your Gifted Young Reader from Babblery Blog

A blogger has created this list, complete with Amazon links to each title so you can quickly read summaries and reviews.


The Kid Story: A gifted kid’s guide to life, Reading lists by grade level

Another blogger site with links to Amazon. She has included more ages/grades (baby through 8th grade).