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Topic: What grade level would you guess?

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Subject: What grade level would you guess?
Date Posted: 3/5/2009 8:22 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2005
Posts: 984
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I have a son that is in 2nd grade and he wants chapter books.  What grade would you guess Cam Jansen to be?  Also, what grades would you guess the Hardy Boys to be?


Date Posted: 3/5/2009 8:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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Scholastic has a "Book Wizard" for estimating the grade level of books. I use it when I'm not sure if a book is too easy or too hard for my second grader.  Here is a link: http://bookwizard.scholastic.com/tbw/homePage.do

The Cam Jansen book I looked up gave a 2.2 grade level and the Hardy Boys book I looked up gave a 6.1 grade level.

Date Posted: 3/5/2009 9:49 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2005
Posts: 984
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Also, does anyone know do you have to read the Cam Jansen books in order?


Date Posted: 3/6/2009 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2005
Posts: 463
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Not sure of the grade levels, but how about Hank Zipfer's A-Z mysteries or the Nate The Great mysteries?  Or Flat Stanley?

We've never read Cam Jansen so I don't know if they need to be read in order, sorry!

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 3/6/2009 3:47 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I've never heard of Cam Jansen, but I definitely would guess the Hardy Boys to be above 2nd grade level.  6th does sound about right.  I proabably started younger and still read them even in high school :-p  On the other hand, I don't know what those grade levels mean.  I tested "post high school" in reading comprehension from 4th grade on, but I certainly wasn't reading college level books in real life that young.

Date Posted: 3/6/2009 6:23 PM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2009
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Cam Jansen definitely doesn't have to be read in order.  If you do, they make more sense, but they are self-sufficient books.  Nate the Great is also a good one for that level.

My son at seven loves the Hardy Boys, but I do the reading and he does the listening.  ;)

Date Posted: 3/6/2009 11:39 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I read Nancy Drew in 5th grade..I remember where they were in the library and they were on the elementary side with the hardy boys..might have been 4th grade but pretty sure it was 5th...

Date Posted: 3/7/2009 11:21 AM ET
Member Since: 11/23/2008
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My second grader flew through the Horrible Harry books, Nate the Great books and Roscoe Riley series.  He couldn't get enough of them.

Date Posted: 3/7/2009 12:21 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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The first chapter books I read were L. Frank Baum's Oz books, shortly followed by Peggy Parrish and Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew.  I would follow more what your son's interests are than "grade level", as they tend to be a little arbitrary.

Date Posted: 3/7/2009 1:00 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2009
Posts: 53
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I read Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and Trixie Beldon In the fifth and six grades.  Its seems to me that Trixie Beldon was a bit easier than Nancy Drew. I remember my sister who would have been in the second grade at that time was reading the Bobsey Twins and Encyclopeia Brown and maybe The Boxcar Children.    I think the Rover boys and the Five Peppers is between Bobsey twins and Hardy Boys in difficulty.  And Tom Swift is about the same level or a bit more advance than the Hardy Boys

If your son is into the Mystery series  I would highly recommend the above series.  Grant it some of the books may be a bit more difficult to find now days, but these are all excellant series.   Each book can be a stand alone, however in all of them there are occassional reference to prior incidents.  I cant give you any input on Cam Jansen as that series was not at when I was in school (Yes I know I just dated myself LOL)

I believe the order of difficulty would be

Bobsey Twins (2nd to 3rd grade)

Encyclopedia Brown (3rd Grade)

BoxCar Children (3rd to 4th)

Rover Boys (4th to 5th)

Five Peppers (4th to 6th)

Trixie Beldon (5th to 6th)

Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys  (6th)

Tom Swift (7th)

Date Posted: 3/7/2009 10:28 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
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Your son might also like The Bailey School Kids series by Marcia Thornton Jones and Deborah Dadey.  These are fun stories with titles like Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots, Ghosts Don't Eat Potato Chips and Martians Don't Take Temperatures.  There are about 50 books in this series and they don't have to be read in any particular order.  My students absolutely love them. 

Date Posted: 3/8/2009 8:04 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2006
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It depends on his interests and reading level, of course. I have twins in 2nd grade and they read Boxcar Children, Cam Jansen, Jigsaw Jones, Magic Treehouse, Hank the Cowdog and others that aren't occuring to me at the moment.   Boxcar Children and Jigsaw Jones are both favorites at the moment.  Each of them checks out books from one of the series and then they swap before the books go back to the library. 

Date Posted: 3/10/2009 8:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,408
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If you use Microsoft Word, you can go to TOOLS on your toolbar, then go to OPTIONS, and check Spelling and Grammar box under GRAMMAR.  Check to see if READIBILITY STATISTICS is checked.  Then check OK. 

Go back to word and either type in or scan about a paragraph of whatever you're questioning to see if it's grade level appropriate.  Then go back to SPELLING AND GRAMMAR under TOOLS, check it and it will bring up a box.  At the bottom of the box it will give you the Flesch-Kincaid grade level of what you've just typed in. 

HTH   Pat

Date Posted: 3/12/2009 10:15 AM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2005
Posts: 7,804
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My son is in second grade, and he loves reading Junie B. Jones and Magic Tree House books, but he can read one in an hour or so.  So lately, I've been getting him some Star Wars chapter books (not the adult kind).  I also dug around my old childhood books and brought out the Beverly Cleary books like Henry Huggins & Ramona Quimby books.  He hasn't tried them yet, but I really hope he likes them!

Subject: Hardy Boys and Others
Date Posted: 3/18/2009 6:16 AM ET
Member Since: 2/18/2008
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I found the Hardy Boys at age 12 (I was overseas, so the grades won't match) and continued, glued to them through age 15.  After that, I put them down until years later.  While I was enjoying the Hardys, I was equally fascinated with all the Tom Swift books and even moreso with the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators series, could not get my fill of them. 

You may be aware that the Hardys were watered down, re-edited and otherwise dumbed down beginning in 1959.  There's nothing to sanitize or simplify; even so, the killing work began then and grew into inexcusable Politically Correct republishings by the '80s.  There is a company, Applewood, that has reprinted the earlier books, original cover art AND stories, intact.

When your son is in his mid-teens, consider looking for John Buchan espionage/adventure novels (there are at least 8).  They surpass even the excitement of reading a good Hardy Boys adventure.

Best to you,





Date Posted: 3/26/2009 6:42 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
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I am a teacher's assistant in a small (enrollment 105) elementary school.  I help with reading groups in several grade levels.  I will try to give you some ideas. :-)

We use some of the Cam Jansen books in our second grade classroom for the 'middle' readers.  Also Horrible Harry for the same level readers.  Magic Tree House books are usually used in our first grade classrooms, occasionally in second & I know some of the older grades use them for very low readers.  Junie B. Jones is for first or second grade.  I am currently reading The Chocolate Touch - author escapes me- with advanced first grade readers, but it is actually levelled at 3rd grade, I believe.  It's not too difficult & is very entertaining.  The Chalk Box Kid by Clyde Robert Bulla is another one my advanced first graders enjoyed.  Sarah, Plain and Tall is not as girly as it sounds. Lots of biographies are written as chapter books and are on second grade level.  

 And of course, now I am drawing a blank & couldn't give you another suggestion if my life depended on it!

Date Posted: 3/28/2009 10:11 AM ET
Member Since: 9/26/2005
Posts: 4,490
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As Matt mentioned, grade levels for reading are fairly meaningless since different kids at different grades certainly have a range of ability.   In assessments that I do, very rarely do I ever discuss what grade level someone's child is reading at.

That said, Cam Jansen books are appropriate for beginning chapter books.  So are Junie B Jones and Horrible Harry series.  

Intermediate books would include: Junie B Jones First Grader, Clementine, A to Z Mysteries, or the Baily School Kids.

Older elementary would include: Hank Zipper (wonderful series by FONZIE!), Hank the Cowdog, or Series of Unfortunate Events.


A better rule of thumb that I tell most parents is to have your child read a random page of the book (not usually the first page)....if he/she struggles to decode more than 3 words,  then it probably is beyond their reading level.   Also, ask for a summary of the page once they are done and see if they can tell you a sentence or two about the story.