More Topics to Supercharge Literacy
This section contains information on additional topics to help educators support reading instruction.
Help Classroom Teachers Differentiate Instruction
Lexile measures make differentiated instruction fast and easy. If you know the Lexile measures of students and the resources available to teachers, you can help teachers match students with reading materials at their ability level across all the content areas.
Lexile measures across the curriculum
You can anticipate each teacher’s next module or unit by preparing a resource set for their specific students:
- Ask if you can level their curriculum.
- Look at student Lexile measures on the class roster.
- Build a content-area reference list.
- Find reading materials at the Lexile level of each student.
Remember those course packs of articles in your college courses? You can do them for 3rd-grade earth science!
Lexile measures for book baskets
Many elementary school classrooms and libraries have book baskets of popular and developmentally appropriate books. However, the books in these baskets probably have varying readability levels. You can use Lexile measures to make these baskets better fit your students’ needs. For themed or alphabetical baskets, color-code books by Lexile zone with spine stickers. You also could make some baskets by Lexile zone. Below grade-level readers, in particular, gain confidence if they know they can pick a book that they’ll be able to read.
How to “Lexile” a Library
“I’m going to ‘Lexile’ my library this year.”
What does this really mean? Librarians all over the country have found that it can mean many different things. With Lexile measures on your library resources, you have a lot of versatility in helping young people connect with reading on the levels—and terms—that they need to.
The Lexile Framework is a tool, not a prescriptive reading program. Here are some ways that librarians around the country have used Lexile measures to help grow readers in their schools. Click the case study links for more detail.
One elementary school in Alaska…
The librarian and parent volunteers color-coded all the books in the media center by Lexile zone with spine stickers. Teachers then told every student his or her reading color. The librarian kept the media center open an hour before and after school. Teachers constantly encouraged their students to visit the media center for leisure reading during these times, and the librarian sent information home to encourage parents to take advantage of the extra school time.
Circulation quadrupled over three years. Before-school and after-school reading became a part of the culture of the school, and a part of family routines. Students took ownership over their own reading growth and were motivated to move from one color group to the next. Read the case study for more information.
Middle schools in a district in Florida…
Librarians across the district wanted to help students transition better from learning to read into reading to learn. They looked at the Lexile distribution of student test scores for each school, and aligned their library book purchases with their students’ abilities. Many schools developed some select shelves just for high-Lexile and low-Lexile books, in order to help struggling readers connect with books they could read, and to help highly motivated readers find books to challenge themselves.
Advanced readers got excited about more challenging books. Some even got involved in the operation and organization of the media center, designing displays and mini-collections for classmates. Struggling readers responded to the ease of finding high-low books. Leveled collections helped them see the developmental path in the library’s collection, and they started moving toward and above “proficient” levels on tests. Read the case study for more information.
One elementary school in California…
At a school in which almost all students were reading below grade level, teachers and the librarian needed to better facilitate both leisure reading and reading for classwork. Students were getting Lexile measures right at the beginning of the school year from an interim assessment. So teachers made sure that every student knew his or her Lexile measure. The librarian reorganized all fiction by Lexile zone, and color-coded all nonfiction by Lexile zone. The teacher’s lounge was converted into a student Lexile tracking center. After each interim assessment, students were ceremonially recognized for the growth they’d accomplished, and they were promoted on the “Lexile wall” in the teacher’s lounge.
Students started setting their own reading growth goals in Lexile. Fears about students feeling self-conscious about their Lexile measures turned out to be unfounded, as students supported each other so they could get their friends into the same color Lexile zone. Young people were in a hurry to read more to try to raise their Lexile measures. Read the case study for more information.
Help Parents Support Young Learners
Successful readers generally are products of parents who model this same behavior at home. Although many parents would like to say that they practice good reading habits, these habits are neither innate nor obvious.
Did you know that:
- While 80% of parents say it’s very important for children to read books for fun, only 21% of parents themselves read every day.
- 53% of children of high-frequency readers are reading books for fun every day. However, among children whose parents read 2-3 times a month or less, only 15% read for fun daily.
Train parents on good household reading habits
Tell parents that their children should read for at least 20 minutes each day to continue growing and provide them with the following tips to help them make this happen:
- Most children say “If I want to read it, I will read it.” Direct parents to our Lexile® Find a Book tool to help their children discover interesting, targeted books.
- Encourage parents to read aloud together with their child every day.
- Encourage parents to set a good example by keeping lots of reading material around the house and turning off devices.
Other ways parents can instill good reading habits:
- Model good reading habits by not limiting children to just bed-time reading.
- Make family time a reading time by scheduling time for the whole family to sit down together to read, or schedule a regular family library night.
- Subscribe to periodicals of interest in a child’s name or highlight newspaper articles of interest to the child and read magazines in line at the grocery store.
Discuss what you are reading
The analytical skills used in discussion are what children need on reading tests, and in life. But sometimes parents don’t know exactly how to discuss a book with their child. Help them to avoid yes/no questions such as “Did you like it?” Send home these discussion ideas in the form of actual quotations parents can use:
- “If the book was a TV show, which actors would you cast in it?”
- “If the main character in that story lived next door, would you two be friends?”
- “Where does the novel take place? Would you want to take a trip there? Why?”
Work reading into daily life
If a text is relevant to a child’s life, he or she will want to read it. Sometimes parents do not know exactly how to work reading into daily life. Send home these and other ideas in the form of actual quotations parents can use:
- “Would you read that recipe to me while I cook, please?”
- “Look, here’s a review in the newspaper of that movie you’ve been wanting to see.”
- “I don’t agree with you about that issue. Find an article online to convince me.”
Scholastic & Yankelovich (2008), 2008 Kids and Family Reading Report