Fountas and Pinnell reading levels

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Fountas & Pinnell reading levels (commonly referred to as "Fountas & Pinnell") are a system of reading levels developed by Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell to support their guided reading method.[1] Reading text is classified according to various parameters, such as word count, number of different words, number of high-frequency words, sentence length, sentence complexity, word repetitions, illustration support, etc. While classification is guided by these parameters, syllable type, an important consideration in beginning reading, is not considered as part of the leveling system. Small books containing a combination of text and illustrations are then provided to educators for each level.[2]

While young children display a wide distribution of reading skills, each level is tentatively associated with a school grade. Some schools adopt target reading levels for their pupils. This is the grade-level equivalence chart recommended by Fountas & Pinnell.[3][4]

Recommended grade Fountas and Pinnell level
K A, B, C, D
1 E, F, G, H, I, J
2 K, L, M
3 N, O, P
4 Q, R, S
5 T, U, V
6 W, X, Y
7 and 8 Z
High School/Adult Z+

Alternative classifications of reading difficulties have been developed by various authors (Reading Recovery levels, DRA levels, Basal Levels, Lexile Levels, etc.).[3]


  1. ^ Fountas, I. C. & Pinnell, G. S. (1996). Guided reading: Good first teaching for all children. Portsmith: Heinemann.
  2. ^ Level books at
  3. ^ a b Level equivalence chart
  4. ^ F&P Text Level Gradient™