Limerick City Library has unveiled a literacy initiative which aims to identify a child’s reading level and match a book suitable to their reading age.
The Lexile Rating System, which was developed in America, has been rolled out in the Granary Library in conjunction with Library Week Ireland and already several Limerick primary and secondary schools have visited the library to take part in the programme.
Mayor of Limerick Cllr Gerry McLoughlin praised the programme and said it was an excellent tool for schools to take advantage of. “I think it’s very important that children should have access to books which are appropriate to their reading age.If a child feels comfortable reading at a level specifically suited to them it will encourage them to continue reading and turn it into a hobby,”he added.
Educational psychiatrist Diarmuid O’Rourke says that children become frustrated if a book is too advanced for them or they can also become bored with a book if their reading level is capable of more difficult texts. He added that matching a book to a child’s literacy level is “as important as finding a book to suit their interests.”
“There has been a lot of research which shows that readers make the most progress and develop lifelong reading enjoyment when they are given books that match their reading level instead of books that are too challenging which can often leave them frustrated,” explained Mr O’Rourke.
“There may be a four or five year age gap between the child’s actual age and their reading age so through using the Lexile system we can asses the children to see what their reading age actually is and then we can match them to books appropriate to their level,” he added.
Children’s librarian in Limerick City Library Julie Dalton said that the Lexile programme is the latest in a range of initiatives that Limerick libraries have rolled out.
“We want people to be made aware that this facility is here and available to the public as well as our mobile library unit and our ‘Start Now’ project. This project involves a speaker from the City Library visiting the Maternity Hospital in Limerick to attend an antenatal class and speak with parents-to-be about the importance of reading. The main idea behind the project it is that it is never too early to introduce your children to the world of reading,” she explained. For more information on the Lexile system visit the Limerick City Library or online at www.lexile.com.