What is a Lexile Measure? Using Lexile Levels to Select Appropriate Books for Children

blog header what is lexile measure

Lexile Measures and the Lexile Framework are developments of the US company MetaMetrics, Inc. The Lexile reader measure indicates the level of reading ability and comprehension of a student. Lexile text measures indicate the level of text difficulty.

Student Lexile Measure

The Lexile Measure is a scientific approach to assessing reading levels. It is given as a number ranging from zero through to above 2000. Scores of zero or less are often given a BR (beginner reader) result.

The Lexile scale – image by supportlexile.com

A student reading a text of a Lexile level compatible with their own (Lexile measure of 650L and text Lexile of 650L) will be expected to have a comprehension level of 75%.

Lexile measure results for students within a given school grade can vary quite markedly. The advantage of Lexiles is the ability to match students with texts of an appropriate level of complexity to continue to develop their reading and comprehension skills no matter what grade they are in.

Types of student with different Lexile results – image by lexile.com

Lexile Text Measures

The Lexile number given to a text is calculated by considering word frequency and sentence length. Easy beginner-reader books tend to have high repetition of a limited number of words and short, simple sentences. More advanced texts have a more diverse vocabulary with less word repetition and longer, more complex sentences.

image by lexile.com

It is important to remember that the Lexile text measure is purely an indication of the difficulty level of the text. While Lexiles can help parents and educators select books at an appropriate reading level, it is still necessary to consider what subject matter would be appropriate for each child individually. Lexile measures provide no indication of the quality of a particular text.

Examples of Lexile Text Measures

  • Arthur’s Perfect Christmas (Marc Brown)160L
  • Amelia Bedelia goes back to School (Herman Paris) 360L
  • The Lorax (Dr Seuss) 560L [link to environment for kids article]
Arthur’s Perfect Christmas (Marc Brown)160L
  • Zac Power: Poison Island (H I Larry) 700L
  • Harry Potter books (J K Rowling) range from 880L to 950L
  • Little Women (L M Alcott) 1300L
  • Don Quixote (Cervantes) 1410L
Don Quixote (Cervantes) 1410L – image by pinterest.com

Using Lexile Levels to Choose Books

Once a child’s Lexile measure is known, there are several databases that can be used to provide booklist suggestions for children appropriate for that reading level. Always keep in mind that this is only one factor used to assess whether a book is suitable for a particular child.

Using Lexile Levels to Choose Books – image by lexile.com

The child’s age will also have some influence on subject matter and their own genre and subject matter preferences will play a significant role in finding books that will engage their interest.

MetaMetrics provides a very useful and extensive online database of books for parents and educators to search based on Lexile levels.

Lexile Measure Assessments

Lexile assessments are performed through schools. Many American states provide Lexile measures for students on their school reports.

Many American states provide Lexile measures for students on their school reports – image by booksourcebanter.com

Scholastic Australia has an Australian Lexile Framework program. Schools must register to be part of the program and can then enroll students to perform a Lexile assessment in a simple online comprehension test.

Lexile Measures are one of several different methods of determining the reading level and ability of an individual and reading and comprehension difficulty level of a text.

Lexile Measures are one of several different methods of determining the reading level

Used with common sense, they can be a useful tool to ensure that children are being given books at an appropriate difficulty level to stretch and develop their reading abilities without frustrating them with books that are too complex.


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