Reading Levels

Leveled Series
Orca Book Publishers has three series which are leveled: Orca Currents (books for reluctant middle-school readers), Orca Soundings (books for reluctant teen readers) and Orca Sports (high-interest sports stories for readers twelve and older). These are all high-interest books with controlled vocabulary that appeal to students striving to read. Orca Book Publishers uses the Fry Readability Formula to level its reluctant-reader series.

Fry Readability Formula
The Fry Readability Formula (or Fry Readability Graph) is a readability metric for English texts, developed by Dr. Edward Fry.  The reading level is calculated based on the average number of sentences and syllables per hundred words.  These averages are plotted onto a graph: the intersection of the average number of sentences and the average number of syllables determines the reading level.

Reading levels for all three reluctant-reader series (Orca Currents / Orca Soundings / Orca Sports) range between grades 2.0 and 4.5, although the age of the targeted readers varies.

Alternate Leveling Formulas
There are myriad readability-level formulas available and this may confuse educators. Some companies will use their own readability formula based on averages of several different leveling sytems.  Some reading programs, like Accelerated Reader, also assign their own levels. While others, like Scholastic Reading Counts, use the Lexile Level. Orca Book Publishers chooses to use the Fry Readability Formula because it is relatively simple to understand and is a basic measure of word and sentence length. For our early chapter books, we have had our books rated with the Guided Reading method.

We have assigned reading levels to our books as a guide for teachers, librarians and educators looking for texts that are suitable for their students. In general, the Fry Readability Formula does not take into account difficult concepts or constructions and is to be used as a guide only. Orca Book Publishers employs a stringent editing process which ensures linear storylines, clear context and understandable storylines for the reluctant reader. There are few characters and limited vocabulary in these stories and no flashbacks or confusing situations.

Accelerated Reader  
AR Quizzes
are available from Renaissance Learning. Quiz numbers for Orca titles (and those of our distributed publishers) are availalble here.

For more information on Lexile Levels, please see

Guided Reading  
A leveling method developed by Fountas and Pinnell. Please see