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This section contains information on connecting your students with books at the right level of challenge. Learn more about:

Reading Outside Your Lexile Range

“If a book is outside her Lexile range, should I not let her read it?”

Never take a book out of a child’s hand because of its Lexile measure. A Lexile measure can help you make informed choices about book and reading experiences.

A student’s Lexile range spans from 100L below to 50L above his or her Lexile measure. But a reader doesn’t always have to stay in this Lexile range. Here are some instructional applications for using higher- or lower-level books.

Reading books above your Lexile range

  • Don’t sacrifice content for readability’s sake. Instead, use Lexile measures to gauge the comprehension gap and bridge that gap with instruction, such as background teaching or discussion.
  • Higher-level books provide a great opportunity for reading growth. If a student is highly motivated to read a particular book, he or she will attempt to read that book regardless of its Lexile level. Books above a reader’s Lexile level can help to stimulate growth when its topic is of extreme interest to the reader.
  • Build an individualized reading or enrichment plan with your advanced and enthusiastic readers using Lexile measures. High-achieving students often will take ownership of their Lexile measure and seek out harder books to challenge themselves.
  • Lexile measures can help parents know that their child might need help through a hard but interesting or required book.

Reading books below your Lexile range

  • Struggling and reluctant readers can use Lexile measures to find easier books to practice with on topics they’re interested in or required to read about.
  • Combine Lexile range and developmental level to find easier books that are still age-appropriate.
  • Connect struggling readers with books with the HL Lexile code (high-interest/low-readability).
  • If a required book or text is too hard, Lexile measures can help you find other books or texts on the same subject at a lower Lexile level.
  • When factors make a particular reading situation more challenging, threatening or unfamiliar, lower-level text can be a safety net for your students.

How to Get Lexile Measures on My Student Roster

Whether you are a reading teacher, a content-area teacher, or both, you can best serve your students’ needs when you know the Lexile measure of each student in your classroom.

If you are in one of the many states that has linked your end-of-grade reading assessment to the Lexile Framework (view list), then you should be able to get student measures on your student roster. Ask your principal, or your district accountability department, to enhance student rosters with Lexile measures.

Additionally, a reading program or product in use in your school (view lists of norm-referenced and formative assessments and reading programs) may record a Lexile measure for the students using it. Your school representative who works with the company offering the program—often your media specialist or librarian—should be able to request a listing of students’ Lexile measures.

How to Help Struggling Readers

It can be difficult to engage struggling readers with books. Often, they’ve fallen years behind their classmates. Reading may be an activity they associate with failure—because the difficulty level of the reading materials for school has risen faster than their reading ability has grown. You can use Lexile measures to quickly find appropriate books for struggling readers—for school or independent reading.

Level the comprehension playing field with “just right” books

Find a Book” enables you to look for books with lower Lexile measures at any developmental level. In no time, you can build an individualized reading plan with your below-grade readers. Struggling students may even take ownership of their Lexile measure because they can use it to find books with which they should succeed at reading.

And you can still challenge a struggling reader who may devour higher-level books about their interests. If a young person is highly motivated to read a particular book, he or she will want to read that book regardless of its difficulty level. You can use Lexile measures as a safety net, comparing Lexile text measures and Lexile reader measures to see when additional instruction, such as background teaching, vocabulary work or discussion, might be needed.

Use your library’s online resources to find easier content-area materials

Chances are your school or district subscribes to one or more content databases from companies like EBSCO and ProQuest. We partner with content aggregators to provide full-text, content-area reading materials searchable by Lexile measure. So when you do a unit on the Harlem Renaissance from your textbook, do a quick article search to find content with lower Lexile measures for your struggling readers. Sometimes online articles also are less intimidating than a passage in a large textbook.

Show parents the Lexile tools

Parents want to support their children’s literacy and education, even if families are unable to read together at home. Knowing how to use their child’s Lexile measure to find “just right” books for their children helps parents to feel like they’re no longer in the dark when they go to the library. And they can use “Find a Book” at home or at the computers at the library.

Let struggling readers choose their own books

Find a Book” was designed to help a struggling reader easily find interesting books that he or she is able to read. The student who hesitates in front of a shelf of books can relax and browse “Find a Book” search results, knowing these books are right at his or her Lexile level. He or she sees the book covers and summaries, and can pick from lots of subject categories.

High-low books and graphic novels

For the middle- and high-school readers, look specifically for books with the HL and GN Lexile codes . HL stands for high-interest plus low-readability. These books are about the lives and experiences of young adults, but are written at elementary school readability levels. GN books are graphic novels or comics. The combination of art and text appeal to readers of all abilities but particularly motivate a struggling reader engaged with a text.

How to Help Reluctant Readers

Reluctant readers are not necessarily the same as struggling readers. Although their reading abilities may range widely, these young people simply have trouble connecting with books independently.

The power of choice

Find a Book” is designed to be useful for teachers, parents and, particularly, students. The idea is simple—let readers browse freely in their areas of interest, within their Lexile range. Reluctant readers will feel more confident and interested if they know that the books they are browsing are ones that they can read. It takes one kind of uncertainty out of the process for them.

Help your reluctant readers to understand the developmental-level and Lexile-range sliders on Find a Book. They can see books intended for young people at any level they choose. Some skilled but reluctant readers respond well to books intended for older children, so they might move the developmental-level slider up. Other readers who are below grade level in their ability can find books at low readability levels that are still age appropriate, so they might move the Lexile-range sliders down.

Reluctant readers also can use some of our Lexile codes. Books coded HL (High-Low) and GN (Graphic Novel) are particularly engaging for readers who have trouble latching onto a story. You can search just for books with these codes from the book results page in “Find a Book“.

How to Help High-Achieving Readers

It’s not always easy to keep your high-ability and independent readers challenged. Between the requirements of the curriculum and the pace that the rest of the class needs, sometimes they have to wait for other students to catch up. You can use Lexile measures to find additional reading materials that will provide these readers with the right level of challenge.

Leveling should not be limiting

Find a Book” lets you look for books with higher Lexile measures at a low developmental level. In no time, you can build an individualized reading or enrichment plan with your advanced and enthusiastic readers. High-achieving students may take ownership of their Lexile measure and seek out harder books to challenge themselves. And enthusiastic readers may devour high-interest  books, regardless of the Lexile level of the text.

Higher-level books provide a great opportunity for reading growth, particularly if you know the Lexile measure of the book. This way, you can gauge the comprehension gap between the student and the text, and bridge that gap with instruction, such as background teaching, vocabulary work or discussion.

Use your library’s online resources to differentiate materials

Chances are your school or district subscribes to one or more content databases from companies like EBSCO and ProQuest. We partner with content aggregators to provide full-text, content-area reading materials searchable by Lexile measure. So when you do a unit on the Harlem Renaissance from your textbook, do a quick article search to find content with higher Lexile measures for your stronger readers.

Show parents the Lexile tools

The parents of high-ability readers often make reading a priority at home. They may be interested in using their child’s Lexile measure to monitor the independent reading experiences that their family has together. They can look up books in their local public library right from “Find a Book“!

Independent readers like to find their own books

Encourage students to use “Find a Book“. Whether or not they know their Lexile measure, they’ll love to make reading lists on their own. If they know their Lexile measure, they can click on an individual book to see their forecasted comprehension rate. A reader’s sweet spot for reading is between 65% to 80% comprehension rate. But if you have a first grader who’s already read all the “Harry Potter” books, he or she may be up to the challenge of harder books, where the forecasted comprehension rate drops below 65%.

Find a Book” enables an independent reader to browse the entire Lexile Book Database. The reader can easily see high-interest books at all Lexile levels, even while staying in an appropriate developmental range.