Center for Diné Teacher Education

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(Judgments on these particular ratings of Navajo Children's Literature were made by Clay Slate at Diné College. They have not been reviewed by others yet.)


We are rating Navajo Children's Literature in terms of what group of learners it is appropriate for. Each book has text and audio parts, so each is rated on the level of listening and reading skill a user will need to benefit from the book. There are higher levels of listening and reading in Navajo (Superior and above), but they are not shown here. These ratings are adapted, for Navajo, from the proficiency ratings that were developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). If you are interested in their more thorough description of these levels, go to or (go to 'Resources' and then to 'Download Library'.)

Guidelines for Listening and Reading Proficiency: Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced

NOVICE LEVELS: In LISTENING, these are for learners who are still memorizing vocabulary, but aren't understanding full sentences yet. In READING, these are for beginning readers who are just learning the alphabet and establishing word recognition.

Novice Low   Level 1

Novice Mid   Level 2

Novice High   Level 3

LISTENING - Understanding is limited to occasional isolated memorized words. There is no ability to understand even short utterances.

READING - Able occasionally to identify isolated words and/or major phrases when strongly supported by context.

LISTENING - Able to understand some short, learned utterances, particularly where context strongly supports understanding and speech is clearly audible. Comprehends some words and phrases from simple questions, statements, high-frequency commands and courtesy formulae about topics that refer to basic personal information or the immediate physical setting. The listener requires long pauses to absorb it and periodically asks for repetition and/or a slower rate of speech.

READING - Able to recognize the symbols of the alphabet. The reader can identify an increasing number of highly contextualized words. Material understood rarely exceeds a single phrase at a time, and rereading may be required.

LISTENING - Able to understand short, learned utterances and some sentence-length utterances, particularly where context strongly supports understanding and speech is clearly audible. Comprehends some words and phrases from simple questions, statements, high-frequency commands and courtesy formulae. May require repetition, rephrasing, and/or a slowed rate of speech for comprehension.

READING - Has sufficient control of the writing system to read language in areas of practical need. Where vocabulary has been learned, can read for instructional and directional purposes, standardized messages, phrases, or expressions, such as some items on menus, schedules, timetables, maps, and signs.

INTERMEDIATE LEVELS - In LISTENING these are for learners who can now understand sentences, but can't keep up with several connected sentences well. In READING, these are for readers who show comprehension and some fluency at the sentence level.

Intermediate Low   Level 4

Intermediate Mid   Level 5

Intermediate High   Level 6

LISTENING - Able to understand sentence-length utterances, made up of words that have been learned in a limited number of content areas, particularly if strongly supported by the situational context. The content that these learners understand best is about basic personal background and needs, social conventions and routine tasks, such as getting meals and receiving simple instructions and directions. Listening is mainly face-to-face conversations. Understanding is often uneven.

READING - Able to understand main ideas and/or some facts from the simplest connected texts that have a clear underlying internal structure, for example, time sequencing. Examples include messages with social purposes and information for the widest possible audience, such as public announcements and short, straightforward instructions dealing with public life. Some misunderstandings will occur.

LISTENING - Able to understand sentence-length utterances, made up of words that have been learned, on a variety of topics. Content now includes somewhat more complex tasks, such as lodging, transportation, and shopping. Listening tasks now include short routine telephone conversations and some slow speech, such as simple announcements.

READING - Able to read consistently with increased understanding simple, connected texts dealing with a variety of basic and social needs. Such texts are still linguistically noncomplex and have a clear internal structure. They impart basic information to which the reader brings personal interest and/or knowledge. Examples may include short, straightforward descriptions of persons, places, and things written for a wide audience.

LISTENING - Able to sustain understanding over longer stretches of several connected sentences on a number of topics pertaining to different times and places; however, understanding is inconsistent due to failure to grasp main ideas and/or details. Thus, while topics do not differ significantly from those of an Advanced level listener, comprehension is less in quantity and poorer in quality.

READING - Able to read consistently with full understanding simple connected texts. Can get some main ideas and information from texts at the next higher level featuring description and narration. Structural complexity may interfere with comprehension; time references may rely primarily on words instead of conjugations. While texts do not differ significantly from those at the Advanced level, comprehension is less consistent. May have to read material several times for understanding.

ADVANCED LEVELS - In LISTENING, these are for listeners who can maintain comprehension of connected talk in extended discourse. In READING, these are for readers who can maintain comprehension and fluency at the paragraph level and above.

Advanced Low   Level 7

Advanced High   Level 8

LISTENING - Able to understand main ideas and most details of connected discourse on a variety of topics in present, past, and future. Understands familiar topics best. Can understand description and narration in different time frames or aspects, such as present, past, habitual, or future. Texts may include interviews, short lectures, and news items and factual reports.

READING - Able to read compositions of several paragraphs in length, particularly if presented with a clear underlying structure. The prose is mainly in familiar sentence patterns. Reader gets the main ideas and facts and misses some details. Comprehension derives not only from situational and subject matter knowledge but also from increasing control of the language. Texts at this level include descriptions and narrations such as simple short stories, news items, personal correspondence, and simple technical material written for the general reader.

LISTENING - Able to understand the main ideas of most speech, but can't sustain comprehension in extended discourse which is complex. Listener shows an emerging awareness of culturally implied meanings.

READING - Able to follow essential points of written discourse at the Superior level in areas of special interest or knowledge. Able to understand parts of texts which are conceptually abstract and linguistically complex, and/or texts which treat unfamiliar topics and situations.