Determining Grade Level

SLJ offers grade level recommendations for each title reviewed. The grade level is typically a range between Baby and Grade 12. (e.g., Gr 2-5, Gr 5 Up, Gr K-2, etc.)

The recommended grade range is determined by you, our professional librarian reviewers, with oversight from the editorial staff. Unlike a publisher recommendation or a Lexile or other standard “leveling” of titles, we are interested in your professional opinion.


Please consider the following factors when determining grade level recommendations:

  • Reading Level (sentence structure, vocabulary, and overall degree of difficulty with regard to average decoding and comprehension skills.)
  • Interest Level (themes, subject matter, age of main character(s), and overall appeal for intended audience.)

As each child’s reading ability and interests differ, the recommended range is meant to be inclusive, not exclusive, and capture the widest reasonable usage for any given title.  Please do not rely solely on the publisher description of the grade level.

For books that contain mature content (such as explicit sex or extreme violence), it helps to make the SLJ editors aware of such content—even if your review does not mention it. You may use the Notes field to communicate such information.

Having difficulty determining a grade level? Contact an editor–we are here to help!