Lexile Measures at Home
Lexile measures defined
The Lexile Framework for Reading is a scientific approach to measuring readers and reading materials. A key component of the Lexile Framework is a number called the Lexile measure. A Lexile measure indicates both the difficulty of a text, such as a book or magazine article, and a student’s reading ability. Knowing the Lexile text measure of a book and the Lexile reader measure of a student helps to predict how the book matches the student’s reading ability – whether the book is too easy, too difficult or just right.
Both a Lexile reader measure and a Lexile text measure are denoted as a simple number followed by an "L" (e.g., 850L) and are placed on the Lexile scale. The Lexile scale ranges from below 200L for beginning readers and beginning-reading text to above 1700L for advanced readers and text.
The Lexile Framework, which comprises both the Lexile measure and Lexile scale, is not an instructional program any more than a thermometer is a medical treatment. But just as a thermometer is a useful diagnostic tool, the Lexile Framework is useful in managing your child’s reading development.
For additional information regarding the Lexile Framework for Reading, please view The Lexile Framework for Reading: A Web Session for Parents (Flash). This presentation provides families with an overview of the Lexile Framework for Reading.
Lexile measures are included in the SOL score reports that are sent to parents or guardians by school divisions. See a sample of the SOL Student Report (PDF)
Managing your child’s reading comprehension
Lexile measures allow you to manage your child’s reading comprehension by matching him or her to appropriately challenging text. Matching your child’s Lexile measure to a text with the same Lexile measure leads to an expected 75 percent comprehension rate – not too difficult to be frustrating, but difficult enough to encourage reading progress. You can further help your child by knowing his or her Lexile range. A reader’s recommended Lexile range is 50L above and 100L below his or her Lexile measure. These are the boundaries between the easiest kind of reading materials for your child and the most challenging level at which he or she should be able to read.
Finding books and articles that will help your child
Once you have your child’s Lexile measure, you can connect him or her with tens of thousands of books and tens of millions of articles with Lexile measures. Most public libraries have access to online periodical databases that you can use to search for newspaper and magazine articles by Lexile measure. It is important to note that the Lexile measure does not address the content or quality of the book. Many other factors affect the relationship between a reader and a book, including its content, the age and interests of the reader, and the design of the actual book. The Lexile measure is a good starting point in the book-selection process, but parents and educators should always consider these other factors when making a decision about which book to choose. The Look up a Book website is available to help you create customized reading lists. These free databases allow you to search for books based on Lexile measures and by interest categories or school assignment topics. With the Find a Book site, you can even check the availability of titles at your local library. Books listed are not endorsed or recommended by the Virginia Department of Education.
Using Lexile measures at home
- Ensure that your child gets plenty of reading practice, concentrating on material within his or her Lexile range (50L above and 100L below his or her Lexile measure). You can search the Lexile book database and find a list of books in your child’s range at the Find a Book website. Books listed are not endorsed or recommended by the Virginia Department of Education.
- Communicate with your child’s teacher and school librarian about his or her reading needs and accomplishments.
- When a reading assignment proves too challenging for your child, use activities to help. For example, review the words and definitions from the glossary, and the review questions at the end of a chapter before your child reads the text. Afterwards, be sure to return to the glossary and review the questions to make certain your child understood the material.
- Celebrate your child’s reading accomplishments. One of the great things about the Lexile Framework is that it provides an easy way for readers to keep track of their own growth and progress. You and your child can set goals for reading – sticking to a reading schedule, reading a book at a higher Lexile measure, trying new kinds of books and articles, or reading a certain number of pages per week. When your child hits the goal, make an occasion out of it!
For more information, visit the Lexile website's Frequently Asked Questions for Families.