The basic categorization will include intended audience, reading level (in terms of language, not content), and content description tags. Through this system, hopefully readers of the blog will be able to identify texts that suit their needs, whatever those may be, and avoid those that don’t.
Primary: These texts are appropriate for children who are not yet concerned with the greater world, but wanting a story that is more emotionally satisfying. The texts tend to contain one central plot, and are delivered in a more simple, uncomplicated narrative pattern. These are young readers, still immersed in narrative fairly exclusively as a means of enjoyment and mirroring of self (6-9 years old).
Elementary: These texts are intended for readers who are able to handle slightly more complicated plots structure, including interwoven plot-lines and the beginnings of more existential—or at least globally significant—issues. These readers have a fairly high level of literacy, but are not yet dealing with adult themes or adolescent issues (9-12 years old).
Teen: These texts begin to incorporate more specifically gendered social issues and relationships, but do not exhibit the edginess of hard-core YA fiction. These texts parallel YA fiction in the social focus and topics of interest specifically aimed at budding adolescent sensibilities, but still cater somewhat to the younger reader’s desire for closure and positive messaging.
YA: I am reserving the YA label for those texts which include a level of grittiness which younger or more emotionally sensitive readers would find troubling. YA fiction intends explicitly to deal with issues that are not openly talked about in casual or conservative society, and can thus be either troubling or cathartic, or both. These texts are often far more post-modern in their presentation, refusing simplistic closure and answers to the troubles of dealing with the adult world.
Crossover: Those texts which readily engage more than one age group (usually Tween or YA and adult): the language may be more difficult, but the topic is of interest and enjoyable to multiple ages. Crossover might also indicate those “classics” that are excellent stories, but where younger readers might not be able to handle the language (Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, for example).
Pre-readers: books you can read to the very young, or books for those children just beginning to read
Early readers: books for children just starting out, but who can handle reading chapter books, not just picture books
Struggling readers: books for youth who are reading below expected grade-level, but still want content aimed at tweens and teens, not the very young
Able readers: books for readers comfortable with words, but not necessarily with an extensive vocabulary or the desire or ability to engage with complicated narrative structures
Advanced readers: books for youth who are able to read books with more sophisticated language and complex narrative structures
These are the keywords I use to describe the content of the texts, regardless of audience or reading level. This list will likely grow as I discover more topics appearing in the literature I read.