There are many educational strategies for teaching students fundamental literacy skills. A key aspect of these strategies is providing students with texts that are appropriate for their reading levels. Students who are expected to read texts that are too basic for their level will quickly lose interest and become disengaged, while those who are given texts that are too advanced will similarly disengage. Thus, the key to maintaining high levels of student engagement is to provide texts that are challenging for readers but not impossibly so.

The Lexile Framework for Reading is a tool for doing just that. The system measures both reading skill and difficulty of a text on the same scale to provide a quantitative blueprint for teachers. Unlike similar systems that only measure the complexity of text, the Lexile Framework can map out both readers and text on a developmental scale. This allows texts to be individually tailored to students rather than assigned based on grade-specific norms.

How Lexile Measures Work

In order to gauge how advanced a reader is, the Lexile Framework uses an assessment to judge their comprehension of various texts. The student is then assigned a Lexile reader level. This level can range anywhere from BR (beginning reader) to above 1600L (advanced). The BR designation indicates a reader with a Lexile measure below 0L. Sometimes a number will accompany the BR to indicate how many units away from 0L a reader is. For example, a reader with a measure of BR100L is more advanced than a reader with a measure of BR150L.

Lexile text levels are determined using the Lexile Analyzer produced by MetaMetrics. Through the analysis of quantitative data such as sentence length and word frequency, the text is rated on the same scale as readers. The only difference is that texts with a score below 200L are all rated BR, there is not yet a system for differentiating texts at this beginner level.

When selecting books, a teacher can take into account the relative Lexile measures of both the students and texts to determine the likelihood that the class will comprehend the text. To get an idea of what each level represents, here is a list of a few popular titles and their Lexile levels:

  • The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss — 260L
  • Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel — 330L
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan — 560L
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White — 680L
  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen — 760L
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling — 940L
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck — 1010L
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen — 1100L
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka — 1340L
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving — 1460L
  • A Fable by William Faulkner — 1520L

As you can see, the Lexile Framework can be used to rate texts from authors as diverse as Dr. Seuss and William Faulkner. By placing both readers and texts on this spectrum, you can begin to choose books for your class that are appropriately challenging. The following are the midrange Lexile reader measures broken down by grade:

  • 1st grade: Up to 300L
  • 2nd grade: 140L to 500L
  • 3rd grade: 330L to 700L
  • 4th grade: 445L to 810L
  • 5th grade: 565L to 910L
  • 6th grade: 665L to 1000L
  • 7th grade: 735L to 1065L
  • 8th grade: 805L to 1100L
  • 9th grade: 855L to 1165L
  • 10th grade: 905L to 1195L
  • 11th and 12th grade: 940L to 1210L

The reading passages in Mentoring Minds Motivation Reading have been analyzed using the Lexile Framework by MetaMetrics. The passages included in the instructional materials all fall within ranges that are challenging for readers yet grade-appropriate. As a result, you can be sure that your students are reading appropriately leveled texts.