Reader Levels and ACTFL Equivalency

Why not just assign Level 1, 2 or 3?

Assigning a grade level to a read is a bit ambiguous and not consistently accurate. This is due to a number of factors:

  • Some texts contain content that requires specific background knowledge and content-specific vocabulary, which could impact the comprehensibility of the text.
  • Just because a text is considered “easy reading,” does not mean it is not appropriate for higher level students. (You can never choose a book that is too easy! Adults rarely read at their true reading level.)
  • Grade or class level is not reflective of language level. Some reads or topics that might be considered more appropriate for younger learners, are often just as powerful / beneficial for inspiring SLA in older learners.

How do I interpret reader levels?

Novice-low to novice-mid (ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines)
Unique word count: 0 – 190
Appropriate for any beginning class in elementary or level 1 class (or higher) in middle/high school.

Novice-high (ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines)
Unique word count: 190 – 300 words
Appropriate for students of any age with previous language experience/knowledge, whether semester two of level one or level two (or higher) in middle/high school or subsequent years of upper elementary.

Intermediate-low to Intermediate-high (ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines)
Unique word count: 300 – 600 words
Appropriate for students with 1 to 2 years of previous language experience/study, levels 3-4 middle/high school.

NOTE: The HIGHEST average level (not the overall average) generally attained by high school students is intermediate-mid.