Literature/Stories to go along with toy
Hello. I have designed a toy, and I need a set of four stories to go along with it. I believe the age for the toy is 5-12 or 7-12. I have been researching like crazy, trying to figure out what word count/page count to aim for for each story.
The thing I'm thinking about most is that I don't want the child to read one of the stories in five minutes and then move onto the next one and read that in five minutes. I'd like the stories to take some time to read; I just don't know how many pages that equals.
Do you have any knowledge or recommendations on how long the stories might be so the child doesn't finish them too quickly?
This is a somewhat complicated question that I actually had to do a little research on. I am not sure this is a good answer either. To begin, I am a writer, editor, and teacher of writing and literature, but at levels after secondary school. Essentially, you are asking a question that is really complicated and might be more suited to being answered by an elementary reading teacher or reading specialist. I will do my best to answer based on what I have learned though.
First, there is no standard reading level marker. The number you are sort of looking for is a "lexile number" and like anything, there are levels of this. The other thing it doesn't really measure is *how long* it takes a child to read because usually the goal is comprehension and not so much timing. The timing piece does come in school when students are taking the SAT, AP, GRE, or other timed exams, but that isn't really a real world application of reading strength and is more specifically in the domain of standardized testing only. That said, teachers are more interested in comprehension and not time.
Second, all readers are different, and while there are standardized places where children fall, readers will be all over the place. What I was able to find was the following charts that may help - and what you should be looking for in writing this (it appears) it hitting the low-end of the spectrum for the lexile strength of your intended audience. The thing that makes this REALLY COMPLICATED is your age levels of your intended audience. In the research I did, and as you can probably see in these charts, the gap of skills between 5 and 12 is GIGANTIC, so I am not sure how you want to approach this. If you take a look at these, the lexile levels of comprehension between some of these age ranges are literally 100% above the lower levels, and then to complicate it further, you are going to have children on the low ends and high ends of both sides.
This is a great idea you have. I hope this was helpful - if you want to ask further questions I do have some people that I was consulting about this, so I may (or may not) be able to help. Asking an elementary educator would be a lot more helpful, I think. Also, hit the library and look at the "step into reading" book series or "accelerated readers" (there are thousands of these books) that level the reading by age and lexile strength, and you can literally see the huge difference between the levels firsthand (and subsequently, ages and reading strength - there are adults that need these books to begin reading too, so it isn't totally about age!)...But unfortunately, there is nothing that measures time, which would significantly vary between readers.