So, I picked up Blizzard of the Blue Moon at a nearby garage sale. When I brought it home, Younger Daughter, attracted to the unicorn on the cover, said, "I want to read that!". Then she leafed through the book and said, sadly, "I can't read this yet."
Me: "Of course you can! Read it to me, and if you get stuck, I'll help you."
YD: "Mrs. Second says I'm not ready for chapter books. I'm only on level H."
This is how "balanced literacy" cripples kids. Since reading isn't taught phonetically, and is believed to be about memorizing words on a word list, the reading a kid can possibly do is restricted to books containing only the very limited vocabulary that they've memorized so far.
And here's something I honestly don't understand — we've been working hard on YD's reading all year, and she's made tremendous progress, but her reading level at school has hardly budged. I'm not the only one noticing this: here's a comment from a mothering.com forum where a mother describes a similar situation with her son:
He is reading books such as "Runaway Ralph", the Junie B series, the Magic Treehouse series for fun, which are all at reading level M-O, yet at school the teacher identified him as level D (on A-Z reading scale, Z being highest level).How do teachers assess reading levels? What's going on here?
Needless to say, YD is now reading Blizzard of the Blue Moon, with our help.