Date of Award

Summer 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


Teachers at every scholastic level search for the best pedagogical practices for their particular classroom and students. The method of leveling, a strategy in which teachers assess the instructional level of a text in order to properly match books with an individual reader, is used increasingly in literacy programs at the elementary level. Books are “leveled” by using a formula that measures sentence and word difficulty. This research project examines how students interact with various texts and explores student fluency, expression, comprehension, and re-telling. The research examines student accuracy rates, self-corrections, and miscue analysis. It considers what text features teachers should include before placing students at specific reading levels. The project identifies other factors that may influence student placement with regard to reading level such as individual socioeconomic and family background as well as features within the text like font size, syllabic number, and oral language. Two specific questions center the research: In what ways does each specific text influence how a teacher sees the reader? Does a reader’s fluency, expression, comprehension, and re-telling vary among different texts?

This study was conducted in a western New York suburban district with three, fifth grade students struggling with reading deficits which included both reading comprehension and decoding skills. Research data was gathered using Fountas and Pinnell 2008 Leveling System Kit. Conclusions noted student background knowledge and personal interest as assets in understanding the individual profile of readers and in assessing appropriate material. Recommendations acknowledge the need for more reading practice both at home and in classroom as well as knowing students on a personal as well as academic level.


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