Friday, February 6, 2015

Using Lexiles

Sometimes the Lexile is on the back of the book.
Lexile measures offer information about a book’s text complexity. A Lexile text measure is based on the semantic and syntactic characteristics of a text. Readers can use Lexile measures to select titles that best match their unique ability level and reading goals. Recognized as the global standard for matching readers with texts, tens of millions of students worldwide receive Lexile measures that help them find targeted readings from the more than 100 million articles, books and websites that have been measured. Lexile measures range from below 200L for early reader text to above 2000L for more advanced text.
~"Publishers Adopt Lexile Reading Metric to Level Children's Content", DBW

You may have seen "levels" on children's books before - Easy Readers in particular often have classifications such as "Level 2, Green Light Readers: Start the engine!  Reading with help (short sentences, creative stories, simple dialogue)".  ABC Library also offers grade level-reading lists.  But now, librarians keep hearing more and more questions about Lexiles.

In the past, many children were encouraged to read at their grade equivalent - "scores based on the performance of students in the test's norming group"*.  Lexiles "represent a student's level on a developmental scale of reading ability... Struggling students are not stigmatized with a grade equivalent that labels them as 'below grade.' Rather, students have an independent Lexile measure and can select appropriately difficult books within their Lexile range."*

MetaMetrics, a North Carolina based company, developed the Lexile Framework. These ratings have been created after 20 years of research funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, measuring reading ability and text complexity in tandem, rather than just text complexity. It has been adopted by departments of education in nearly half the states and school districts in all 50 states. The Common Core State Standards provide Lexile reading bands for reading comprehension development.

If you don't know your child's Lexile measurement, there are sites that will help you find out what it is! The Lexile Framework for Reading's Find a Book just asks you to submit your child's grade and whether they find the books they are reading for school difficult, easy, or just right. Then you choose a category that represents your child's interests, and you are presented with the Lexile and some recommended books.  On the same site, if you are a registered user, you can use the Lexile Analyzer - type or scan a text to find its Lexile measure.

Sometimes the Lexile is with the copyright information.
Many publishers will provide Lexile measurements, including Scholastic, HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Young Readers, Random House Children’s Books, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan Publishers, and Chronicle Books.


The Lexile Framework for Reading*

MetaMetrics: The Lexile Framework for Reading 

New Mexico Public Education Department: The Lexile Framework for Reading

NoveList K-8 Plus: Lexiles [an eResource, available free with your valid library card]

Lexile Levels Made Easy [Scholastic]

Barnes & Noble's Lexile Reading Level Wizard

TOEFL Lexile Measures

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