by Katelyn Buttram

EVSC is very data driven, which is definitely important. It is because of this that teachers are able to cater to the individual student more than ever and the chances of a student getting left behind academically are getting lower.

Lexile leveling is something that we take very seriously. A student’s Lexile level tells the teacher what reading level they are on. For example, in an 8th grade ELA class, you can have students at a 1300L, which is 11th and 12th grade, and also have a student who has a 500L, which would be around 1st and 2nd grade. In my classroom, along with my PLC (Professional Learning Community- AKA “team”), lessons are created to fit students at each level. This year we did novel circles where students were grouped based on their Lexile level and assigned a book with that level. The students who needed a higher challenge were challenged and the students who needed a boost were boosted.

So, why am I even bringing this up? Summer reading, of course! You can still bring that score up over summer vacation by simply reading. Finding the joy in reading can sometimes be as simple as finding a book that you are interested in and that is at your level. I know that is how I found it.

Many young adult books are being turned into movies and you can catch them this summer either on DVD or at the local theaters, but here is a list of books that are just as great, with their Lexile level that I, along with my mother who has taught reading for 15 years, recommend.

Stuck in Neutral

by Terry Trueman

Lexile 820L

Shawn suffers from Cerebral Palsy and is completely handicapped. The interesting part of this story is that it is all in his perspective, so it allows the reader to realize that everyone, no matter their condition, is human and has feelings. Shawn immediately introduces the fear that his father is going to kill him. Trueman does an amazing job of allowing us to get to know each of the characters and love and understand them.

Copper Sun

by Sharon Draper

Lexile 820L

Sharon Draper has many books that are excellent (Forged by Fire, Tears of a Tiger) and this one is one of the best. This epic story is about a young African girl who was stolen from her family and sold into slavery. Because of her strength and spirit, she is able to endure the horrors of slavery and losing everything that she loved.


by Laurie Halse Anderson

Lexile 690L

Yes, this was made into a Lifetime movie not too long ago, but it does not hold a candle to the actual book. In fact, I saw the movie before I read the book with my sophomores and was still surprised and preferred it over the film. Melinda is entering high school and everyone hates her. Why do they hate her? Because she called the police at a party they were having where there was underage drinking. Melinda, who was once popular, has turned awkward, timid, and cannot find her words. Her parents do not know what happened, everyone is mean to her and bullies her, and she has lost all of her friends. Little does everyone know that there is something more to the story of that fateful night. Will she ever find her voice? The story is low Lexile, but high interest. It even alludes to the late great Maya Angelou.

Make Lemonade

by Virginia Euwer Wolff

Lexile 890L

LaVaughn is an ambitious young girl who is determined to go to college. She decides to take up babysitting to save money for college and answers an ad to babysit for a teenage girl, Jolly, who has two children from two different fathers and is feeling less than positive about her future. LaVaughn helps Jolly to “Make Lemonade” from the situation she is in.


by Elie Wiesel

Lexile 590L

This is a memoir of a Holocaust survivor, Elie Weisel, and his time living in the concentration camp. This story is emotional, gut wrenching, and most readers, once they have committed to the first two or three chapters, cannot put the book down. Elie’s dedication to his father and his faith are challenged as he endures the cruelty of the Holocaust. This book, though it is a low Lexile level, gives opportunity for reflection and relation for the reader.