At a glance
The Lexile system measures both a child’s reading ability and the difficulty of a text.
There are different assessments used to measure Lexile levels.
The point of the Lexile system is to help match readers with texts.
If your child comes home from school with a report on Lexile level or measure, you may wonder what that number means. This measure, which is called the Lexile score, assesses your child’s reading level.
The Lexile measure is part of the Lexile Framework for Reading. It’s used with students from first through 12th grade.
There are a number of systems that match readers with texts at the right level of difficulty. But Lexile is widely used, and many students will find the books in their classroom organized by Lexile levels.
How Lexile matches readers with reading materials
The point of the Lexile system is to find the right level of reading material for students. The match is based on reading ability, not grade level in school. To make the match, the program assigns levels both to readers and to texts.
Students get a Lexile score after doing a reading assessment. Books and other texts get a Lexile level of difficulty that’s generated by special software. To find a book at the right Lexile level, a student will look for a book with a Lexile level that falls within a certain range — from a little below to a little above the student’s level.
Lexile can give you a sense of your child’s reading ability. But it shouldn’t be used as a way to compare your child to other kids the same age. Also, your child’s score doesn’t take into account other factors that go into finding a good match. These include motivation, interests, and background knowledge.
Lexile assessments and results
Your child’s Lexile level can be generated from various assessments. Each one looks at a different aspect of reading. The Scholastic Reading Inventory tests measure reading comprehension, for instance. The Aimsweb fluency assessment looks at how many words a child is reading correctly per minute.
If your child’s Lexile falls within a range that concerns you, ask the school which test or tests it used to come up with this level. If one assessment shows that your child reads slowly, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem with understanding the text.
The Lexile system isn’t a test to identify learning and thinking differences. It’s simply a guide to help kids find books at the right reading level. But Lexile level can be one way to monitor the reading progress your child makes over time.
When kids have trouble with reading, it’s important to know why. A full evaluation can pinpoint exactly where your child struggling. This might lead to targeted specialized instruction in reading through an .
Learn about the types of tests used to identify a child’s reading challenges. And watch as an expert talks about how to choose books for kids who struggle with reading. You can also discover tips to improve your child’s reading comprehension and learn more ways to encourage reluctant readers.
The Lexile system can help predict which books a student will be able to read and understand.
Lexile assessments can’t identify learning and thinking differences.
Lexile measures are one way to help monitor your child’s reading progress.
About the author
About the author
Alexis Clark, MA, MS is a freelance editor for Understood and an adjunct professor at Columbia Journalism School.
Elizabeth Babbin, EdD is an instructional specialist at Lower Macungie Middle School in Macungie, Pennsylvania.