Reading Instruction and Children's Books

Although children’s librarians think learning to read is about books, teachers use buzz-words such as lexile, phonics and word walls.  Parents and students are often seeking grade appropriate reading materials.  Several methods are used to determine grade level.  In order for children’s librarians to effectively assist patrons, they need to understand how to interpret grade levels assigned to books by publishers and educators.

This course will provide children’s librarians with an understanding of different methodologies for reading instruction and ways that the grade-level of reading materials are determined.  Books, periodicals, websites and other material that children need to read will be evaluated from these perspectives.  Librarians will be encouraged to develop strategies for explaining these grading formulae to parents and to communicate more effectively with teachers as a result of their understanding.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will be able to:
  • Select reading material that is appropriate for students who are developing elementary-level reading skills
  • List and define four instructional methods used to teach reading in elementary schools
  • Compute grade level of children’s reading materials using one of the three learned formulas on books, periodicals, websites and other materials
  • Teach four readability methods to library patron for their use when seeking appropriate reading material
  • Develop a presentation for parents, teachers, students or colleagues that explains grade level calculations and methods for determining grade level 

Who Should Attend

Children’s librarians in public libraries and schools; library paraprofessional and support staff who are working with students, parents and teachers; teachers who are not trained in reading instruction would also benefit from this course.


Kate Todd has her MLS from the University of Denver and an MA in educational technology from New York University. She has taught the ALSC online course since 2008, and has also presented webinars and face-to-face workshops on reading instruction and libraries.


Tech Requirements

Computer, internet connection, web browser.

Credits &/or CEUs

This course is certified to provide 2 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to students who pass the course.  A certificate of completion will be sent to each participant upon successful completion for each course taken.

The American Library Association (ALA) has been certified to provide CEUs by the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  Individual courses must pass a rigorous certification process by ALA's office of Human Resources Development and Recruitment to be able to provide students with CEUs.  If you have questions about CEUs or course certification, please contact Dan Rude in the ALSC office by email ( or phone 800-545-2433 ext. 2164.


If you have questions about the course material, please contact the course instructor Kate Todd.

If you have questions about registration, please contact ALA's Member and Customer Service Department by email or by calling 800-545-2433 ext. 5.

All other inquiries, including sponsorship questions, can be directed to Dan Rude, ALSC Marketing/Membership Specialist, via email or by calling (312) 280-2164.

Cancelation and Transfer Policy

Cancelations must be made in writing and postmarked or faxed to the ALA/MACS department by no later than seven days before the class starts.  Cancelations will result in a full refund less a $35 processing fee.  NO phone cancelations will be accepted.  Refunds will be processed two weeks after the start of the course.  ALSC reserves the right to cancel a course for reasons including insufficient numbers of students. Cancelations after the course has begun will not be accepted.

If you are registered but unable to take a course you may transfer your registration to another student if that student falls under the same registration category.  For instance, an ALSC member may transfer her registration to another ALSC member free of charge.  If you would like to transfer your registration to someone in a different category the difference between prices must be paid at the time of transfer.  All requests for registration transfers must be made in writing no later than seven days before the start of the course.  Please address all requests, including the reason for the transfer and both parties' membership numbers, to ALSC Marketing Specialist Dan Rude.  Transfers may not be made once a course has started.