In the article Three Myths About “Reading Levels” (Feb 28, 2017) published by Psychology Today, it is asserted (emphasis mine):
Unfortunately, though, the ubiquity and precision with which these reading levels are now being tested and reported has led to their increasingly inappropriate use, especially in schools. For example, professional development materials accompanying the Common Core initiative instruct teachers to “match” texts to readers based on Lexile level.... For example, that student who tested at 4.6 might only receive credit for reading books leveled from 4.1 to 5.1. Many schools now even restrict the books students can check out from the school library to those at such “appropriate” levels....
The context of the paragraph references so-called "Common Core" standards of the United States, and specifically references a publication of the Georgia Department of Education describing the nature of reading levels, implying that US schools are being spoken of here.
Is there any evidence that it is common for schools, especially US schools, to actually restrict students from checking out materials outside of their assessed reading level? I'm very well aware that one of the major functions of school librarians is to recommend appropriate works for children, but the article seems to imply that "many" schools have moved beyond that into actual restrictions. That is, instead of a student being gently guided to what a librarian or teacher thinks is appropriate reading material (but allowed to make their own final decisions), they are now blocked by official barriers forbidding them from checking out material deemed outside of their current assigned educational goals. Is this actually happening?
To be clear, this question is about alleged policies or practices of actively or positively forbidding students from checking out materials deemed inappropriate to their current literacy level.
This question (and the underlying claim) are not about:
- Allowing a student to check out a book, but denying them course credit, incentive credit, token economy points, swag, achievement awards, effort awards, gold stars, or other reading incentives (E.g. "You can check out Little Women, but it won't count as progress on your Five Books in Fifth Grade chart because we think it is too advanced for you.").
- Allowing a student to check out a book, but gently advising them that reading it is not in their best educational interests.
- Content censorship - that is, restricting students from checking out books based on their content (e.g. students must be 15 or older to check out books on same-sex marriages) rather than their reading levels.