Lexile levels are a method of rating the reading difficulty of a book. It does not rate the content or interest level--a factor of which teachers and parents need to be aware when selecting books for younger students with a high reading level. The book level that a student is able to read, comprehend and retain is an indicator of the student's reading ability. The lexile rating system is flexible and is not tied to grade levels.
Test the student's reading level formally by using a reading assessment test or informally by asking the student to read text at various reading levels. For the latter method, you need to know the Lexile level of the sample text. The Lexile home page has links to lists of leveled books, plus a tool into which you can type a paragraph of text for analysis. Once you know the book level, ask the student to read to you. The student should be able to read the material aloud with no more than three corrections, and answer questions about the material.
Provide books that meet three levels of proficiency for the student: books they can read very easily, books that offer only a moderate challenge and books with higher reading comprehension difficulty. To increase a student's reading level, provide a variety of material in the moderate challenge range, but keep some things on hand that are easy and just for fun to keep up interest. Look for material that will pique the student's curiosity, and foster a desire to explore. Gradually, as the student's abilities increase, offer more difficult material and a broader range of topics.
Create opportunities for the student to increase personal vocabulary simultaneously with exercises in reading. The more words a student can read at a glance, without decoding, the better. Make vocabulary expansion fun. Introduce a "Word of the Day" club. Provide dictionaries and Thesaurus for the classroom--in paper or electronic format. Encourage students to incorporate their new vocabulary in writing exercises. Share and post poetry that uses expanded vocabulary for humor or to create an atmosphere. Let the students see that you love words and literature.
Provide listening centers where the students can listen to the text while following along with the words. Provide listening/reading texts that are just at the top of the students reading level. Help the students follow the words of the text while the recording tells the story. Listening while reading allows the students to hear the words spoken correctly, expanding their spoken and listening vocabulary as well as their reading vocabulary.
Re-test the student periodically, but not more than once every three months. Too much testing leads to stress and frustration, which will diminish the students enjoyment of the reading process.Testing gives the teacher a way to measure student progress; building enjoyment of the materials while building reading skills increases the likelihood that the student will become life-long readers and learners.