About The Graded Readers
How They are leveled/Graded
One of the first questions you may ask is 'How do I know what this level of reader means?' It is an unfortunate fact that all publishing companies use different measurements for their graded readers. What may be a level 4 for one publisher may be a level 3 for another publisher. This means that each time you pick up a new graded reader, you may have to guess if the book fits your level.
The graded readers on this website follow the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level scale. This scale is used to see how difficult a text is and assign it to a grade level. A level 5 would mean a 5th grade reading level. This scale is not perfect, but it is commonly used among language teachers and learners. Keep in mind that the Flesch-Kindcaid Grade Level measurement is based on the reading levels of native speakers of English. This means even though someone is in 5th grade is learning English, they may not be at a 5th grade reading level. Actually, in Raquel's teaching experience, international students new to US universities read at a 4th grade level for extensive reading.
It's totally fine to read at any level, no matter how old you are! All of the books on this website are at level 4. Even if the book is low level, it can still be interesting. The whole point of extensive reading is to read easily understandable books, so choose a book that is easy for you to understand. If you don't like a book you are reading, just stop reading it.
If you would like to test your other reading materials with various measurements, you can check out this website. Just type in about 100-200 words from your text. Testing what your normally read should help you better understand what level works best for you.
All of the graded readers on this website were written by graduate students at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa in the Department of Second Language Studies (SLS). Raquel Reinagel, the overseer of the project, wrote two stories and asked her classmates to write stories, too. She wanted the stories to be different from other graded readers, but how? Looking towards Critical Language Pedagogy, she wanted the characters and plot to contain ideas that were not in mainstream graded readers. It helped that these books were all self-published, so there were fewer restrictions on content than there would be with a publishing company. With funding from the SLS department, she contacted up-and-coming artists to make the stories come to life through imagery.
alleande.com (all eyes and ears) is constantly looking for original content to turn into a graded reader. If you have an idea or story in mind, send a message! A good story can change a life.
How They are Made
What makes these graded readers different?
As mentioned in the previous section, these graded readers have concepts that are not easily found in most graded readers. Some of these topics include LGBTQ+ issues, feminism, death, disabilities, and the fate of humanity. Raquel believes that including social issues into reading connects the texts to the outside world and challenges differing points of views.
Another feature that separates these graded readers from the mainstream is the amount of illustrations in each book. Although having too many illustrations in a book may seem childish, it may help with comprehension and set the atmosphere of reading as something that is fun, rather than as assignment or chore.
You may notice that none of the graded readers are adaptations of pre-existing stories. Many traditional publishers make adapted or abridged stories from famous books. Although this practice is completely fine, it could be said that there are not an abundance of original-story graded readers that are free to the public. The graded readers on this website are free, but may also be purchased if you would like to help this website continue on.
Lastly, these graded readers were written by aspiring language teachers, who all have a passion in making new materials. These young minds have new ideas and fresh spirits which create new ideas and new types of stories. These stories were created in the spirit of camaraderie and with a hope to make enjoyable content to future readers.