I am a BIG believer in allowing readers of all ages to choose what they want to read. I am convinced it is a vital element in creating lifelong readers.
Learning to self-select is a vital skill worth practicing and developing. Young readers need to be able to sample what’s available in print and discover what they like and what is the right fit for them. It is important for adults to validate their choices and to give them “permission” to like what they like and not like what they don’t.
Young readers, like older readers, should not have to read on their “reading level” at all times. Adults certainly don’t all read on their reading level all of the time, and we need to allow children the same opportunity.
All this being said, I know it is helpful to many to have some knowledge of a book’s level when selecting books. So, I label the books on the blog with either ES (elementary), MS (middle), or HS (high). These simply mean that as a school librarian, this is the level for which I would purchase the book for my school library. For example, a book labeled MS/HS is a book I would buy for either a middle school or a high school library. These labels are just to provide a starting point and are not meant to be hard & fast rules.
If you are an adult guiding a young reader, thank you for encouraging literacy. Remember that in this situation you want to be an “enabler” in the positive sense of the word. Someone who does everything to encourage and faciliate a love for reading and the written word! It’s the gift of a lifetime!