Elementary school teachers – what does this mean?

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My son came home with a Guided Reading Level paper today.  And I have no idea what it means.

He is in kindergarten.

So he is a Q.

Am I correct to assume the levels run from A to Z?

What grade level is Q?

What grade level is Z?

Does it mean anything that he is Q and target level is B?

I know he reads with second-graders at school but they never explained what these levels mean.

Does anyone know?

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  1. gayla says

    hi – probably too late w/ this info but in our school this Q = 40 which is about a 4th grade level. your child obviously comprehends and reads well! good job mom!!

  2. Helen W. says

    Just wait until he starts bringing home his 3rd and 4th grade math! You think you’re confused now! FYI- if you can remember it, “means & extremes” is what they now call “cross multiplying”.
    (I think the schools do this stuff just to mess with the parents!) LOL

  3. says

    They are likely using “Fountas and Pinnell” reading levels to measure students’ reading growth and match children with appropriate books for instruction. It is an A-Z gradient. I’m not sure what the point of sharing his level in that way was, other than to be confusing. Levels are mostly important for choosing books with an appropriate challenge for guided reading instruction. They can be used to show a reader’s growth as they move through the alphabet, by indicating his/her ability to read and understand increasingly difficult text.

    I don’t have my levels chart in front of me, but a “Q” means that he can read text well above his grade level. Wow! 2nd graders target end of year reading level is around an “M.” Now, most early readers can decode (sound out text) at a much higher level than they can comprehend. They just don’t have the experiences and background to make meaning out of stories meant for 3rd and 4th grade readers.

    So, I’d be more interested to know from his teachers what strategies he is using as a reader, and to what degree he comprehends, and most importantly, what he likes to read! Does he enjoy nonfiction? That sort of thing would be more helpful, I would think, than “Q”.

    My (slightly more than) 2 cents. :)

    • says

      Thanks for the feedback Sarah!

      He actually comprehends fairly well, and does like to read non-fiction too. The other day in the car he was reading about pirate ships, not a kids book but an adult level reference/history book. He was reading out loud to me and was telling me what he thought was cool. He got the book at a library sale for 25 cents.

      I know they give you the letters more to let you know if your kid needs help or not, but for some kids, like mine who is advanced, it makes me worried about him getting bored and show they will address it.

  4. sarah- caiafa craziness says

    Never seen letters. Ours is based on a numeric scale. I would call his teacher and ask.

  5. says

    It looks like someone had added lines to a “C” rather than drawn a “Q”. For some reason, it doesn’t look like the circle is all one line. Ok, I’m no sleuth, but I’ve done some tricky things as a kid!

    • says

      He’s smart but not that smart LOL.

      Actually in passing a couple of months ago his teacher mentioned they moved him up a reading level to j and at the time it didn’t really register. Plus he reads with the 2nd grade class so I knew he was reading at a higher level already.

  6. says

    I’m from northern Indiana too, and I know all schools are different, but I would think ours would similar. They aren’t! I have never heard of that and the fact they don’t explain it in a letter (at the least) is weird. We have a program called dibbles at our school and I have been explained it 3 times and still don’t understand it. It has to do with letter sounds and if you child is at the target…below target or above target. The point system is weird. What ever happened to ABCDF? lol

    • says

      It all seems so complicated! I’m glad that they assess them but I also think assessing them should involve a PLAN for how to deal with kids who are behind or ahead. Just sending a letter home without explaining what it means for US is just confusing.

  7. says

    It means he’s WAY above grade level, but because of no child left behind, he’s going to be held back because teachers are told to aim for the middle and hope for the best. They usually have kids in K and 1st grade who run the spectrum from not being able to read a word to kids like your son. All I have to say is good luck in the coming years because if he’s reading at that level now, he’s going to get bored, and if he’s like my son, cause problems when left to his own devices. Then his teacher will complain that he’s causing issues, when all it boils down to is that your kid isn’t stimulated. Can you see I’ve been through this already? LOL We’re STILL going through issues like this, and our son is in 3rd grade. The public school system SUCKS.

    • says

      Amanda that really sucks.

      Right now they have him going to the 2nd grade class for reading a couple of times a week so, so far, I think they are addressing it.

      We’ll see how it continues as he gets older…

  8. says

    Oh Kim. I’m sorry but this makes me laugh. In all my years of raising my children, working ten years in kindergarten and now helping with my grandchildren in school (one is in kindergarten) I have never heard of reading levels such as that. It has me confused! Good luck with the teacher.

    • says


      Part of me is just like..”ok, he can read, he’s intelligent, he’s happy, he likes school, he doesn’t cause problems – don’t worry about it”. But the other part wants to make sure that the school can keep up with him.

      I just want him to be challenged to his potential so he doesn’t get bored and get in trouble.

  9. says

    I would say he’s well above where he should be–yay! We don’t use the same system, but it looks like he’s about on the 4th grade level.

  10. Rebecca Orr says


    The goal for your son is to be at a B or C level, by the end of the school year.
    But, he is actually level Q…which is where most 3rd-5th graders are at. I think that the side note is for the parents with children that are at an A level (to know where they are at). So that they can help their kids with their reading. So that they can help them get to the B and C levels.

    Sounds to me that your son is reading great…above and beyond the normal reading level! Keep it up!

  11. says

    You’re guess is as good as mine. The way the school system works now I don’t understand anything anymore. Heck, my 8 yr old is bringing algebra that is taught completely different than the way I learned it and it’s now all greek to me.

    • says

      That is the one thing that scares me Cat, not being able to help him because I don’t understand the way they are teaching.

      I graduated with honors with a Bachelors Degree from college and I have a feeling it’s not going to do me much good when it comes to helping with homework….

      • says

        I’m inclined to agree with you Kimmy. They don’t even do spelling lists here or memorizing the basic multiplication tables anymore. They’ve gone and complicated it with some grouping procedure.

  12. says

    Well I don’t really know. But from the sound of it I’d say he is 15 notches higher than he should be!

    Way to go mom! You must have read to him a lot when he was a baby!

  13. says

    It will not get any easier to understand!
    I would ask – I decided now that I finally have an email for David’s teacher, we will be the best of friends!!
    My daughter told me last week that she farted to Q but I don’t think that’s the same thing…

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