George Lucas Educational Foundation

Resources for struggling older readers

Resources for struggling older readers

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Hi everyone, I'm looking for resources to help teach basic reading and spelling skills to 4th graders (between the ages of 9-11) that will be interesting to them, teach them the skills they lack (most are on an early 2nd grade level), and not treat them like babies. Any suggestions?

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Megan's picture
Special education inclusion teacher in grades 4 and 5.


Joanna Posey's picture
Joanna Posey
Secondary-Special Education Teacher

I work with older students many of whom are lower elementary level in reading skills. I've done a couple of activities that work and work well. Since I'm also the school's library facilitator, we have worked to lexile many of the books. I realize that there are many reading levelers in use but my students seem to thrive with the lexile system.

I use the following lexile numbers to guage progress
300-499 2nd grade; 500-649 3rd grade; 650-749 4th grade; 750-849 5th grade; 850-949 6th grade; 950-1000 7th grade; 1000-1100 8th grade; 1100-1200 9th grade, for example.

I've found that some authors write using similar vocabulary and sentence and plot structure in their reading. Each new volume, the author injects new vocabulary words. By combining the lexile level with author writings, my students have done well. Here are some examples:

Books with Lexile Scores By Same Author
Boxcar Children Mystery
Blue Bay Mystery Lexile 340
Mike's Mystery Lexile 370
Lighthouse Mystery Lexile 440
Bicycle Mystery Lexile 450
Tree House Mystery Lexile 470
Snowbound Mystery Lexile 480
Mystery of the Mummy's Curse Lexile500
Great Shark Mystery Lexile 500
Mountain Top Mystery Lexile 510
Mystery of the Singing GhostLexile 540
Ghost Town Mystery Lexile 550
Mystery of the Alamo Lexile 550
Castle Mystery Lexile 570
Ghost of the Chattering Bones Lexile590
Mystery of the Lost VillageLexile 620
Mystery of the Orphan TrainLexile 620
Mystery of the Vanishing Passenger Lexile 670
Animal Shelter Mystery Lexile 700

Matt Christopher Sports
Undercover Tailback Lexile 590
Year Mom Won the Pennant Lexile 610
Catch that Pass Lexile 620
Tough to Tackle Lexile 680
Great Quarterback Switch Lexile 690
Return of the Home Run Kid Lexile 740

Baglio, Ben (Animal stories)
Puppy Puzzle Lexile 520
Stallion in the Storm Lexile 670
Colt in the Cave Lexile 680
Ponies at the Point Lexile 720
Mare in the Meadow Lexile 730

Madeleine L'Engle Fantasy
An Acceptable Time Lexile 710
Wrinkle in Time Lexile 740
A Wind In The Door Lexile 790
Ring of Endless Light Lexile 810

Ridley, Pearson - Mystery
Kingdom Keepers I Lexile 640
Kingdom Keepers II Lexile 750
Kingdom Keepers III Lexile 750
Kingdom Keepers IV Lexile

Bob Balaban--Mystery McGrowl
Puppy Tales Lexile 783
Every Dog Has His Day Lexile 790
Good Dog Lexile 790
It's a Dog's Life Lexile 840
It's a Dog Eat Dog WorldLexile 873

Mike Lupica Sports
Two Minute Drill Lexile 880
Hot Hand Lexile 930
Batboy Lexile 940
Big Field Lexile 970

Patricia Polacco Family Living
Pink and Say Lexile 590
Thank You, Mr. Falkner Lexile 650
Just Plain Fancy Lexile 660
The Graves Family Lexile 720
January's Sparrow Lexile 760
Ginger and Petunia Lexile 770
For The Love of Autumn Lexile 810
Uncle Vova's Tree Lexile 850
The Keeping Quilt Lexile 920
Graves Family Goes Camping Lexile 980

Jeff Kinney--novel in cartoon series
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Vol 1 Lexile 950
Roderick Rules, Vol 2. Lexile 950
The Last Straw, Vol. 3 Lexile 970
Dog Days, Vol 4 Lexile 970
Cabin Fever Lexile

Hardy Boys Mystery
Jungle Pyramid Lexile 670
What Happened at MidnightLexile 690
Mystery of Cabin Island Lexile 700
Haunted Fort Lexile 730
Ghost at Skeleton RockLexile 740
Hunting for Hidden GoldLexile 750
Shore Road Mystery Lexile 770
Mystery of the Aztec WarriorLexile 780
Sting of the Scorpion Lexile 800

Lord, Gabrielle (Conspiracy 365 Adventure series)
January 680
February 790
March 790
April 820
May 790
June 800
July 790
August 730
September 700
October 780
November 710
December 760

Silverstein, Shel Poetry
A Giraffe and a Half Lexile 500
Falling Up: Poems and Drawings Lexile 680
A Light in the Attic Lexile 750
Where the Sidewalk Ends Lexile 800

Gloria Skurzynski, National Geographic Adventure Series
Rage of Fire Lexile 660
Cliff Hanger Lexile 670
Wolf Stalker Lexile 700
Buried Alive Lexile 720
Running Scared Lexile 740
Escape From Fear Lexile 750
Deadly Waters Lexile 770
Valley of Death Lexile 810
Night of the Black Bear Lexile 880

Will Hobbs Adventure Series
Jackie's Wild Seattle Lexile 660
Crossing the Wire Lexile 670
Wildman Island Lexile 690
Go Big or Go Home Lexile 700
The Maze Lexile 720
Changes in Latitudes Lexile 750
Downriver Lexile 760
River Thunder Lexile 760
Leaving Protection Lexile 770
Bearstone Lexile 780
Down The Yukon Lexile 790
Big Wander Lexile 800
Far North Lexile 820
Jason's Gold Lexile 860
Beardance Lexile 890
Ghost Canoe Lexile 900

Hunter, Erin Seeker Series: Adventure
The Quest Begins, vol 1 Lexile 840
Great Bear Lake, vol 2 Lexile 750
Smoke Mountain, vol 3 Lexile 740
Last Wilderness, vol 4 Lexile 760
Fire In The Sky, vol 5 Lexile
Spirits In The Stars, vol 6 Lexile

Gary Paulsen Adventure Series
Nightjohn Lexile 770
Lawn Boy Lexile 780
Woods Runner Lexile 870
The River Lexile 930
Dog Song Lexile 930
Legend of Bass ReevesLexile 950
Dog Team Lexile 960
Soldier's Heart Lexile 1000
Hatchet Lexile 1020
Brian's Return Lexile 1030
Brian's WinterLexile 1140
Brian's Hunt Lexile 1180

Lemony Snicket Unfortunate Events Series

The Miserable Mill Lexile 1000
The Bad Beginning Lexile 1010
The Vile Village Lexile 1080
The Hostile Hospital Lexile 1110
The Austere Academy Lexile 1120
The Wide Window Lexile 1150
Lump of Coal Lexile 1350

Classic Books by Author in Chronological Lexile Order

Stevenson, Robert Louis: Treasure Island 870
Crane, Stephen: Red Badge of Courage 900
Dickens, Charles: A Christmas Carol 900
Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein 940
Spyri, Johanna: Heidi 960
Douglass, Frederick: Narrative of the Life of . . . 1030
Dickens, Charles: David Copperfield 1070
Cather, Willa: Death Comes For the Archbishop 1150
Doyle, Arthur Conan: Hound of the Baskervilles 1170

Picture Books with different authors &
Lexile Scores

Oppenheim, Shulamith L.: Lily Cupboard 420
Lucado, Max: You Are Special 480
Marzollo, Jean: I Spy Gold Challenger 490
Seuss, Dr.: How the Grinch Stole Christmas 510
Sciezka, Jon: Stinky Cheese Man and Other . . . 520
Nolen, Jerdine: In My Momma's Kitchen 530
Vaughn, Marcia L.: Abbie Against the Storm 560
Polacco, Patricia: Pink and Say 590
Blake, Robert J.: Akiak: A Tale from the Iditarod 590
Seuss, Dr.: Oh, the Place You'll Go 600
Schulz. Charles: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Br.613
Wisniewski, David: Golem 690
Seuss, Dr.: Butter Battle Book 710
Brill, Marlene: Diary of a Drummer Boy 730
Polacco, Patricia: For the Love of Autumn 810
Dixon, Andy: King Arthur's Knight Quest 920
Polacco, Patricia: Keeping Quilt 920
Paulsen, Gary: Dogteam 960

Dowswell, Paul (True Stories--nonfiction)
True Escape Stories 970
True Survival Stories 1080
Heroes 1060
True Stories of the First World War 1140

Deedra's picture
Teacher of Students with Blind/Vis Imp. Metro-Nashville Public Schools

I teach students that read braille...on very different levels. One of my greatest finds to help me with instruction is the website It has lots of different reading levels and topics. (All organized by various systems Lexile, Common Core, etc..) Even though it is mainly geared towards increasing reading comprehension, I find their pssages engaging and fun for my students. There is an easy intro video when you sign up, you can create a notebook that stores your passages, on and on. Can't say enough about how great it is. Plus, most passages come with a short Q&A !!! And there are links to read alouds. Check it out and let me know what you think. I'm new to the group.

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