Hi parents! Since the introduction of the new Common Core, Youth staff at the library have experienced an increase in questions from parents about Lexiles. Specifically, parents are seeking books that match a specific Lexile to support their child's reading progress. However, through this we have also learned that many parents aren't completely familiar with how Lexile works, so below is a general overview, and how we can help you!
What is Lexile? A Lexile measurement is determined when a child takes a reading assessment test, usually through school. A child (and parent) usually receive a specific number from his or her teacher.
What does the Lexile number for a book really mean? A Lexile measurement for a book is simply an evaluation of the vocabulary and sentence length in the book. Lexile does not take into account the complexity, quality of writing, or age-appropriateness of a book. For example, the book Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys is an award-winning, highly acclaimed teen book about the histocial account of a 15 year old girl who was sent to a Siberian prison camp in 1941; it measures at a 490 Lexile. Compare that to a fun picture book called Chicken Cheeks, an illustrated preschool book about different animal behinds, which measures at a 1080 Lexile. The higher the lexile, the more complex the vocabulary and sentence structure, and that is all.
What can I do with that number? Now that your child's Lexile has been determined, your first instinct is to find leveled books, right? My favorite go-to source to find books within a Lexile range is Novelist. We provide this database through our website–if you want to access this from home you will need to use your library card. To search by Lexile, go to the Advanced Search field link right below the search area–within this page you can limit your search for materials to within a Lexile range. Although it's database of materials is much more limited, you can also use the Lexile website itself to find materials. Also, here is a guide about levels; this guide will provide you with more info about different leveling systems. And, of course, you can always ask a staff member for guidance!