For an integrated classroom, Penguin (or Macmillan) levelled readers create a great balance between reading “the classics” and rendering them understandable to a diverse classroom. Positioned at various reading or language levels, they provide vocabulary coaching and comprehension reviews within the text. They serve as excellent resources for independent reading time, classroom read alouds, or a reading circle.
Some might find the levelling system problematic, particularly as the texts themselves are explicitly labelled as levelled. However, I find this enables students to self-select more easily, and to recognize adequate challenges to their reading skills, experiencing less reading frustration. I enjoy building my students’ enthusiasm for these iconic stories, and find they engage in meaningful discussions of the books when they are accompanied with cross-disciplinary lessons applying to the history, geography and science behind the stories.