Call for True Level 1 Readers

I’m not exactly thrilled with the quality of readers out there. I think it’s not good to ask kids to read above their level. Most of us hand them books that are above their heads. In general, the TPRS/CI communitey routinely asks kids to silently read books that are above their level, and it frustrates them.

Most readers labeled “level 1” are really level 2. Level 2 readers in general are really level 3 readers, etc. The few kids can read them, the larger group can’t. When are CI teachers going to reach all their kids all the time in their classes?

So if you know of or have yourself written any readers for FVR out there – very low level short books that are actually level one readers – not level 2 readers mislabeled as level 1 – books that able to hold the interest of and engage your students better than what has been out there in the past – please let me know. I’ll sell them in my online bookstore (under construction on my new website).

You will keep all the money from the sales of your readers. I do that because I want to help teachers through these tough times. Plus, those who split the profits with authors don’t know how hard it is to write one of those suckers. I tried to write a reader with a vocabulary of under 150 words once about ten years ago, a really simple one. I gave up after a month. It’s that difficult!

Requirements to get into my bookstore are therefore:

  1. Ultra-simple texts of under 175-200 new words max, so level 1 kids can read them in the spring of their first year of the language, after working with the Star up to that point, having read the stories and tableaux that they have created around the Star up to that point in the year.
  2. Each page should contain 2/3 to 3/4 images and 1/4 to 1/3 words.
  3. Images can be photos or drawings. Drawings allow you to build a recognizable “visual brand”. Marko Sanden’s book about Ana is an example – it can be found at Marko’s site at
  4. If you must, write thematically to “cover” what is required in the curriculum. But that’s not really CI, it’s an unfortunate mix of CI and the textbook.
  5. More interesting are readers that address what we are living now as a society: BLM, justice, disappearing bees, etc. Now that’s a challenge!



3 thoughts on “Call for True Level 1 Readers”

  1. I’m glad you are raising the point that currently, it is difficult to provide early second language learners with reading material that is truly at a comprehensible level. What I’m finding more and more is that Phase three of the STAR, The Writing Phase, is the most consistent way to provide our students with the TL language that meets the concept brought about by Vygotsky’s i + 1. Embedding 10% into what students have just created allows students to access text that is comprehensible as well as challenging in an encouraging way. Additionally, when coupled with the student artist’s rendition that emerges during the Reveal Phase, we start to fulfill more of the requirements you have laid out. Going truly non-targeted meets number four on your requirement list, and if one is in tune with student input during the Town Hall during Phase One of the Star, I believe we will occasionally and hopefully with greater frequency address number five.
    BTW, Thanks for the “shout out.”

  2. Hi Marko. I don’t see the example of Marko’s book about Ana on the page. Could you share a direct link?

  3. Greetings Sean, Please excuse the late response. Actually, both of my books (Ana quiere hablar el español: part 1 (Spanish Edition) and Ana quiere hablar el español: Part 2 (Spanish Edition), are on Amazon and not on my sites ( and However, if you or anyone else here on Ben’s PLC would like a copy, just email me at and I’ll send you a PDF of the book for your perusal. Be well!

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