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What’s a Lexile Level?

Books, Reading

Published on: December 1, 2023

Written by: Gina Hagler

kids walking in a tunnel of books

Overview

There has always been the need for a scale to help educators and parents steer kids toward appropriate reading material. Early on, a child’s grade level was considered that child’s reading level. Because there can be a wide range in the reading ability of the kids in the same grade, finer designations of ability level were made. When these proved to lack the necessary rigor, educators used a variety of assessment tools to adapt existing methods of assigning reading levels.

The Lexile Framework is a relatively new method of reading assessment that takes a scientific approach to determine a reader’s ability. Over 100,000,000 million books, articles, and websites have received Lexile reading scores. So, just what is the Lexile Framework, what is the assessment process that determines the Lexile Measure, and how can you use your child’s Lexile Range to find the right books and other reading materials?

The Lexile Framework

The Lexile Framework for Reading by MetaMetrics utilizes a scientific approach to match readers to text. It uses the same scale for written material and a learner’s reading level. The Lexile text measure and the student’s Lexile measure are then used to make a match. Bookstores, libraries, classrooms, publishers, and online sites around the world are able to use these scores to create reading lists and reading programs for beginning readers through advanced readers – in English or Spanish.

Lexile Assessment Process

The Lexile Analyzer considers a number of metrics to arrive at a Lexile measure for texts that use conventional punctuation. (Think no poetry or recipes.) The attributes include word frequency, text difficulty, text complexity, and readability. The Analyzer looks at sentence length, how often a word is used, and how the sentences are constructed – all of the parts that make up a student’s reading comprehension. The same metrics are assessed as part of the Lexile reader measure.

The Lexile Measure

The Lexile Measure or Lexile Score is expressed as a number ranging from 0L for beginning readers to 1600L for more advanced readers. State departments of education can use Lexile measures to connect state assessments to reading instruction. Teachers can use Lexile Scores to create spelling tests and design materials to work on students’ reading skills.

Lexile Levels vs Reading Level

The difference between a Lexile Level and a Reading Level is basically the different between saying you live in Boston rather than saying you live in the United States. Reading Levels are not assigned as the result of an analytical test. A student’s Lexile score is specific to that individual student. When it is used to select material with the same score, there is a much greater likelihood that it will be a good fit for that student. You will also find charts that list the Lexile levels along with other reading level designations. The more you know about both ways of determining a child’s reading level, the better able you’ll be to use them to your child’s advantage. Scholastic has a comparison chart that will also make this clear(er).

Lexile Levels vs Lexile Ranges

A Lexile Level in the form of a reading measure score along the Lexile scale is not the whole story. There are Lexile Ranges that can be used to determine the reading level sweet spot for your child. Basically, reading material that is within a range of 100L below their score or 50L above will provide an ideal experience for your child. For a kid with a Lexile measure of 1240L, the sweet spot for reading comprehension will be a Lexile range of 1140L to 1290L.

Finding Reading Materials

Just how do you find reading materials that fall within your child’s Lexile Range? The most straightforward method is to use the database at Lexile.com. (You can also use our Find-A-Book tool to search our database of Core Books that support our Sprial Curriculum.) With their Lexile & Quantile Tools, you can search by grade, range, measure, interest, and much more, in English or Spanish.

Be sure to check out this Lexile Infographic, too!

Read more Support Your Child: Reading