I just wrote an article for Choice Literacy about the limits of leveled books. It includes a booklist of great books for new readers if you are interested. Here is the beginning of it.
GIVING NEW READERS A DIET OF MORE THAN LEVELED BOOKS
I am going on another diet. Not one of my favorite things, but something I have to do. I know that for the diet to last through all of the weight I need to lose, I need a little variety. I can't eat lettuce, grilled chicken and oatmeal for months at a time. When I have gone on diets without variety, I have always ended up deciding that I'd rather just be a little plump. It isn't really worth it.
I am wondering if this is the same thing that our youngest readers feel when they are given only a diet of leveled books. I wonder if after months and months of leveled books as their only independent reading material, they feel as we chronic dieters do. Do they watch other students in the room reading "real books" in the same way that we watch size 5 colleagues in the lounge eating brownies? Do they think maybe they'd just rather not be readers? (Click here for the rest of the article on the Choice Literacy Website.)