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Lexile Levels: What You Need to Know

By Alexis Clark, MA, MS

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 his 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 his level, a student will look for a book with a Lexile level that falls within a certain range that includes his level.

Lexile can give you a sense of where your child’s reading ability falls among his peers. But it shouldn’t be used as a standard to compare your child to other kids his age. Also, your child’s score doesn’t take into account other factors that go into finding a good match. These include his 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 his level. If one assessment shows he reads slowly, that doesn’t mean he isn’t comprehending what he reads.

The Lexile system isn’t a test to identify learning and thinking differences. It’s simply a guide to help your child find books at the right reading level. But your child’s Lexile level can be one way to monitor the reading progress he makes over time.

If your child has trouble with reading, it’s important to know why. A full evaluation can pinpoint exactly where he’s struggling. And it might lead him to get 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.

Key Takeaways

  • The Lexile system can help predict readers’ ability to comprehend what they’re reading.

  • Lexile assessments can’t identify learning and thinking differences.

  • Lexile measures can be one way to help monitor your child’s reading progress.

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  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • Text Message
  • Coming soonGoogle Classroom