Frequently a parent will approach us and say, "My son is reading at level C, where are the books for him?" Or it's, "Level 10" or "Lexile 400." How do we have any clue where to start?
The first thing is to know that there's no national standard for leveling books. Different publishers and different curricula use different assessment tools, so patrons will come in using a variety of different terms and codes, depending on their school situation. I did however, find this chart, which offers a comparison from system to system and may help you start to get your bearings.
The next thing to know is that we use a completely different kind of assessment on our Easy Readers to select whether they get a green, red, or yellow dot than publishers and educators use on their books and their students, so it's really pretty fruitless for us to try to graph Green, Red, and Yellow onto the chart I just gave you!
If anyone asks, though, you can say that the Easy Reader section as a whole ranges from material that's appropriate for preschoolers through 2nd or 3rd graders, and that the color dots offer a rough guide as to beginning, practicing, and more fluent readers. The Junior Fiction section overall ranges from books written at a 2nd grade reading level through about a 6th grade reading level. Often the most practical thing to do with a parent is to walk with them to the Easy Reader section and try to find together books that look similar to what the student is reading at school.
One site that may offer you some more help is the Scholastic Bookwizard. Lori Romero mentions it in her article, "Making Sense of Beginning Reading Lingo."
On the Bookwizard, you can search for books in a few different ways. A Quick Search lets you enter a title and find out a suggested reading level for it. The BookAlike Search asks you to enter a title, then choose whether you'd like more books like that book that are easier, harder, or just the same reading level.
Finally, the Leveled Search is a more advanced search that lets you put in separate information for reading level and interest level, as well as type of book, genre, or topic. So you can look for books for that 2nd grader reading at a 6th grade level by entering 6th grade for reading level and 2nd grade for interest level.
What is potentially very helpful for parents is that you can select one of four reading level systems to frame your search in: Grade Level Equivalent (a decimal such as 2.4 or 5.1--publishers sometimes give this as a reading level on the back covers of paperbacks--2.4 means 2nd grade, 4th month), Lexile (often given as a range of 3 digit numbers, like 400-500), DRA (even numbers 2-80), or Guided Reading (a letter of the alphabet).
Two other tools you might be able to use are:
Accelerated Reader BookFinder (AR uses both a reading level and an interest level)
The Lexile Framework Book Search