This resource looks at a broad sweep of books, from "little books" with patterned sentences to small, illustrated chapter books. It integrates discussions of nearly two hundred different—and not so different—books, sorted along a gradient of difficulty, beginning with Reading Recovery levels and extending to a framework for evaluating more complex texts, including the challenges and supports they provide readers, and the responses of readers to those books. Along the way, the book answers such questions as: What, exactly, makes a book easy or difficult for new readers? How do you select the right book for the right child at the right time? Besides readability levels, what other factors must be considered?

Literary Pathways is an extension of Barbara Peterson's groundbreaking research on the features of texts that support beginning reading. "It is important to select books that children can read," but Peterson emphasizes that "selecting books only by readability level is not enough. We need to put books in children's hands that will help them develop “literary pathways” that will build foundations for their enjoyment of more complex literature later on." This book will help you lead the way.