If you are an educator or author, you are probably familiar with the term, Lexile Measure. If you are a parent, you may or may not be as familiar. However, chances are you have come across it. Before we delve too far into the subject matter, I think it is important for everyone to have a clear and concise picture of what exactly the Lexile Measure is and what it means for your child or student.

The Lexile Measure

Simply put, the Lexile Measure is a scientific metric that determines the text complexity of a book and scores it based on the information. By knowing your child or student’s Lexile score, it helps you to choose material that is compatible with their comprehension level. The important thing to remember is that this is just a tool. As with all things, there are many factors that should be considered when choosing appropriate reading material. However, this baseline gives you an excellent resource to help you along the way. [Infographic | Source:  Lexile.com]

How does a child receive a score?

According to the Lexile website, over 35 million students, in all 50 states, are receiving Lexile measures through popular reading assessments and programs, including 25 state assessments. Although my daughter has been out of grammar school for over ten years, I still remember receiving copies of her standardized test results each year, which included her Lexile score. I also remember looking it up for the very first time on the internet to acquaint myself with the term because it wasn’t something that was discussed, which is one of the reasons I wanted to blog about this topic. Of course, ten years have passed, and it may now be more readily explained in the classroom.

What does this mean for parents and educators?

Do you have a child or student that struggles with reading? Or a child that is bored too easily, therefore dislikes reading? It could be that their books are to blame. Not only do you need to look at the genre that interest them, but knowing their comprehension level, will help keep a student engaged. Let’s create an example. Our fictional child, Dani, receives a Lexile score of 700L. According to the Lexile website, the “sweet spot” for reading comprehension is 100 points below a child’s score or 50 points above. Therefore, Dani, should be reading books with a Lexile range between 600L and 750L.

For teachers, did you know MetraMetrics is an “Endorsing Partner” of the Common Core State Standards Initiative? I didn’t prior to my research. You may find this documentation of interest: Common Core Standards and Helpful information on using Lexile Measures in the classroom. 

Parents, are you curious to find out a book’s Lexile score? If a book has been measured, Amazon will list it’s Lexile Measure under Product Details. Perhaps the easiest way to find it’s score, however, is to go direct to the Lexile website and use their quick search feature. In addition,you can also obtain a list of books by inputing a range of Lexile Measures to help your child find a book of interest.

What does this mean for authors?

Do you want to effectively market your book to your readers? It’s important to know who your target audience is that will be reading your book. By obtaining a Lexile Measure you can confirm that you are marketing the right age category. For example, you don’t want to be marketing an emergent reader series in the middle grade category or vice versa. This will frustrate both your readers and your book sales!

Additionally, MetaMetrics takes it a step further in helping us. They have an add on service where they can generate a list of challenge words that a student needs to know in order to best comprehend your books. Why not take advantage of this service and use it to create reproducible classroom activities?

In summary, I would like to encourage authors to have their books measured. It will not only help you, but the readers you are trying to reach as well.

If your child dislikes reading or is bored, I encourage you to review your child’s latest standardized test, and the books they are reading. Are they compatible?  If not, print out a list of books from Lexile’s website and let your child choose a book that may be of more interest. Just remember, this is only a tool. Ultimately, your child should read whatever captures their imagination and attention.  

Warmest regards,

K. Lamb