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.