Covers of six different early reader books.Fiction & Nonfiction Collections

Our Early Reader collection, located near the Kids & Teens Desk, consists of both fiction and nonfiction books for children learning to read on their own. All of the books in the collection are labeled with one of four colors to represent different levels of the Fountas-Pinnell guided reading level system, which is used in Elmwood Park's School District 401. See below for more information.

In the Early Reader fiction collection you can find Disney, LEGO, and other popular series and characters, as well as some of your favorite authors like O'Connor, Rylant, Seuss, Willems, and more.

In the Early Reader nonfiction collection, there are plenty of great introductions to nonfiction topics, organized alphabetically by subject, including:  Animals, Bugs, Careers, Celebrations, Food, Life Skills, People, Places, Plants, School, Space, Sports, Transportation, and Weather.  


Assisting Your Child

Our colored labels are a guide for you to help choose the best books for your child. Try to take the child’s lead when starting on this new adventure. Everyone learns at different speeds. It is always okay to try books in other levels until you get the right fit or are ready to move up. It may also be helpful to try some challenging or easier books along with their current level to build confidence and reinforce skills.

Another way to decide if a book is appropriate is to have your child use the Five Finger Rule.

  • Read any page in a book.
  • For each unknown word, hold up one finger.
  • At the end of the page, if five fingers are up, the book is too hard.
  • If no fingers are up, the book is too easy.
  • If 2 or 3 fingers are up, then the book is just right! Give it a read.

What Letter is My Child?

Elmwood Park School District 401 uses the Fountas-Pinnell guided reading level system. While the Library does not indicate the exact letter for each book, our color coded labels align with the F-P system in the following way. Please use this as a guide when selecting books.  Click on a level to find out more.

Button for Green Levels A-C   Button for Yello Levels D-G   Button for Blue Levels H-J   Button for Orange Levels K-L

Online Sources

These online tools can help to locate reading levels:

Just enter a book title or series. If it is included in the database, results will list all of the matching titles and reading levels. Other leveling systems will be included, but the Fountas-Pinnell system is often listed as “Guided Reading.”

Other Reading Level Systems

While the Lexile system is not used in our local schools, it may be referred to in parent guides, online sources, etc. Library staff can assist you in understanding other leveling systems and locating their Fountas-Pinnell equivalent.


Green (Levels A-C) - Getting Ready to Read

Green Level books help prepare kids to read. Recognizing letters, their sounds, and simple words, along with using pictures to decode text help new readers to become more comfortable and confident with books and reading.

These books are best when shared with an adult and include: 

  • Matching letters and words with pictures
  • Clear visuals that give context clues to words
  • Large type with a lot of white space
  • Rhyming and word repetition

 Good examples of this level are:


Yellow (Levels D-G) - Beginning to Read

Yellow Level books help kids begin to read with assistance. They will pick out familiar words and use pictures to identify words and storyline.

These books include:

  • Sight words
  • Large type and a lot of white space
  • Simple sentence structure with a few words per sentence
  • Repetitive phrases
  • Illustrations to support comprehension

Good examples of this level are:


Blue (Levels H-J) - Beginning to Read on Your Own

In Blue Level books, familiarity and predictability are still important to young readers. However, they will begin to be more comfortable with unfamiliar words and rely less on picture support.

These books are a transition from beginning to more advanced titles and include: 

  • Smaller print with less white space and several lines of text per page
  • Varied sentence structure, use of punctuation and verb tenses, with less repetition and rhyming
  • More complex stories with less picture support
  • May have short chapters

 Good examples of this level are:


Orange (Levels K-L) - Reading On Your Own

In Orange Level books, readers will be able to read on their own and comprehend most of the plot. They will not necessarily finish these books in one sitting.

These books include:early reader orange

  • Less illustrations
  • Rich vocabulary and more complex plots and themes
  • Detailed phrases and sentences, including contractions and conversations in quotes
  • Divided into chapters

Good examples of this level are:


 Transition to Chapter Books

While kids are successfully reading books at the Orange Level, they may express interest in reading longer chapter books and novels.

Chapter books are located in the J Fiction collection and include many popular series and characters. Other standards are:

  • Organized into chapters
  • Higher reading comprehension
  • More complex sentence structure
  • Full text filling the page without much white space
  • Limited pictures
  • Depth of ideas

Good examples of this level are:


Additional Materials

TAG Readers kits are available for checkout. Each kit comes with an electronic pen that reads letter sounds, blend sounds (such as “pl”), and words. These touch and talk devices are one of Leap Frog’s interactive educational products.

Hooked on Phonics allows parents to work directly with their child on reading skills and move them along the path to independent reading. It takes a learn-practice-read approach and is based on current research. Sets are divided into pre-reading, Kindergarten, First and Second grade. Take your child all the way through the system or pick the set that will assist where they are now.

Other fun options are phonics or reading-based DVDs and playing reading games on the educational game computers in the Preschool Room.


A Gift to Last a Lifetime

A library card is a wonderful gift for your child. It might be one of the first things that your child gets with his/her name on it. Choosing and checking out library materials and being responsible for them builds self-esteem, confidence in one’s choices, and independence.

There are no age restrictions for getting a card, however, parents must sign a permission form.

For more information, please check with the Circulation Services Desk.