Reading Levels

Orca provides reading levels for the majority of its titles, using a range of leveling systems, including the Fry Method, Lexiles, Guided Reading/Fountas & Pinnell and ATOS for Books/AR#.

Download an Excel spreadsheet of reading levels from Orca Book Publishers. This list can be sorted by series, title or reading level.


Orca uses a software leveling system called FRY to level all hi-lo series.

The method for leveling uses a text driven rating based on the number of letters in a word, the number of words in a sentence and the number of sentences in a paragraph. The results are numbers that refer to a grade. For example: RL 4.2 means the book can be given to the student reading at the expected level in the second month of grade four.

These numbers are printed on the back of each book (and the copyright page in the case of the Rapid Reads series.)


Books are submitted to a company that provides Orca with Lexile levels. The leveling system looks at the text difficulty and things like word frequency and sentence length. The content of the book is not as important. The results are shown in a unique three to four digit number and prefixes are applied to books with additional designation such as hi-lo or a graphic novel.

Here are the prefixes:

  • BR = Beginner Reader
  • AD = Adult directed (picture books)
  • HL = hi-lo
  • NP = Non prose
  • GN = Graphic Novel
  • IG = Illustrated Guide
  • NC = nonconforming


Also known as F&P or Fountas & Pinnell referring to the two educators who first came up with this leveling system to support their “Guided Reading“ method for emergent readers and “Reading Recovery” method for struggling beginner readers.

The system looks at a combination of content and text to level books and give them a letter of the alphabet that corresponds to a certain proficiency in reading. They focus on grades K-8.

ABOUT ATOS FOR BOOKS/AR (Accelerated Reader)

Books are sent to a company that provides the AR levels, quizzes and quiz numbers for individual titles. The level given is a number and refers to a grade. The quizzes are given point values and AR points can be calculated, but Orca Book Publishers only receives the quiz numbers and not the actual quizzes.

This leveling system is also referred to as (ATOS) Advantage TASA Open Standard (TASA is a reading management software)

They use prefixes for book descriptions:

  • BL = Book Level
  • IL = Interest Level
  • LG = Lower Grade (K-3)
  • MG = Middle Grade (Gr 4-8)
  • UP = Upper Grade (Gr 9-12)