“Why do you have a level 5.6…What happened to level 5.5?” This question comes into our customer service department fairly frequently, though there’s no official tally. I have actually wondered about this myself! Here is the history on Level 5.6, from one of our original writers:  

Read Naturally originally had a level 5.5 that contained stories we had purchased from another publisher. In the late 1990s, we decided to research and write our own stories for this level and update the comprehension questions for all the levels of the series. Our comprehension improvements included increasing the number of questions at the higher levels (above 5.0) to nine and adding an enrichment activity to the higher levels. The curriculum creators felt that as students progressed through the levels of the program, they were capable of handling more complex content, so we could also increase the complexity of the comprehension questions at the higher levels. For more on the importance of reading comprehension, see here.  

As the Read Naturally team researched and wrote new stories for level 5.5, it seemed that many of our new stories would be more challenging than the stories they were intended to replace, especially when combined with more challenging comprehension activities. Consequently, we ended up referring to 5.5’s replacement level as 5.6 to reflect that it would be a bit more challenging than 5.5 and to represent a shift for teachers and students to more challenging content.  

We often get questions from teachers about the correlation of our stories to commonly used measures like Lexile. Our writers work carefully to ensure that our stories are appropriate for the students at each level, although our stories are not directly correlated to specific grade levels. For more about reading levels and Read Naturally stories, check out this blog article. For more information about the alignment of Read Naturally’s stories to Lexile measures, see this article

So there you have it—the answer to the missing level 5.5! Do you have students working in level 5.6? The stories are some of our favorites. Please share your favorite in the comments!

From the archives, here's a picture of the original level 5.5--with cassette tapes!