How the Lexile System Harms Students

About a month ago, a woman approached me at a conference. She picked up a copy of ASHFALL and asked me, "What's the Lexile on this?"

This question threw me for a bit of a loop. I'm used to being asked what ASHFALL's about, how much it is, or where I got the idea for it. "What's a Lexile?" I asked.

"They use it at my daughter's school," she replied. "To match students with books at the right level for them."

"Oh, like the Guided Reading level." I happen to know about those because my wife's school district uses them. They always seemed a bit idiotic--what reader chooses a book based solely on its reading level? But since at her school they're used as suggestions, not mandates, and take the content of the books into account, they've never really bothered me. "ASHFALL is a Z+ on the Guided Reading level scale," I said.

Here's where the rabbit hole started to get twisty. "We don't use Guided Reading," she said. "We use Lexiles. And my daughter isn't allowed to read anything below 1,000." The italics are mine. You'll have to imagine my angry shouting at a school that won't allow their students to read--no matter what the excuse.

"I'm sure it's fine, then. ASHFALL is a Z+. It's got to be at least a thousand on your school's scale. What does she like to read?"

"She loved The Hunger Games, but the school wouldn't count it. It's too easy for her." (I later looked up The Hunger Games--its Lexile level is 810.)

"A lot of teens who liked The Hunger Games enjoy ASHFALL. How old is your daughter?"

"She's in sixth grade."

"You should read ASHFALL first, then--it depicts an apocalypse realistically. It's very violent. Definitely not appropriate for all sixth-graders."

"That's okay. I just need to know what the Lexile level is. Can you look it up?"

I obliged and found ASHFALL listed at Its level? 750.

"It's too easy for her, then." The woman walked away as my lower jaw hit the table with an audible slap.

For kicks, I looked up Ernest Hemingway's masterpiece, A Farewell to Arms. Its Lexile? 730.

Is my work more difficult, more sophisticated, or more appropriate for older readers than that of Mr. Hemingway, a Nobel Laureate in literature? Of course not! Think about it: If this poor student stays in her school system, she'll NEVER be allowed to read A Farewell to Arms. It's allegedly too easy for her.

Since this conversation, I've heard of a high school that boxed up all its copies of Night, Elie Wiesel's classic account of surviving the holocaust, and sent them to the elementary school, because it's "too easy" for high school students. It's Lexile is 570.

Shocking as that example is, there's a bigger problem: the Lexile system punishes good writing and rewards bad writing. I'll illustrate this point with an example. Here's the first sentence of a book that sixth-grader would have been allowed to read, a book with a Lexile of 1650:
"ON the theory that our genuine impulses may be connected with our childish experiences, that one's bent may be tracked back to that "No-Man's Land" where character is formless but nevertheless settling into definite lines of future development, I begin this record with some impressions of my childhood."
Forty-eight words that can be replaced by three with no loss of  meaning: 'My childhood was.' This is a truly awful opening, whatever your opinion of the overall work.

Here's a novel millions of sixth-graders have enjoyed. A novel with a Lexile of only 820. A novel this woman's daughter would not be allowed to read:
“They say Maniac Magee was born in a dump. They say his stomach was a cereal box and his heart a sofa spring. They say he kept an eight-inch cockroach on a leash.”
It's clear and concise. It introduces the main character and opens irresistible story questions in the reader's mind. If it were rewritten as one sentence, it would lose the flavor of gossip that makes it intriguing--and have a much higher Lexile score.

Good writing is simple. The best writers never use two words where one will do, and they choose their words with precision. But the Lexile system rewards complexity and obscurity by assigning higher Lexile scores for works with longer sentences and longer words. In short, students forced to use the Lexile system in their reading are being taught to be bad writers. And some are likely being forced into books that will turn them off to reading.

What should you do? If you're a school administrator, teacher, or librarian, quit using Lexiles. I realize your motto isn't, "First, do no harm," but is that such a bad precept to follow? The Lexile system is actively harmful to your students.

If you're a parent, let your child pick books the way you do--based on interest and need. Ask your school to dump the Lexile system. The last thing we need is an expensive program that makes the great work parents, teachers and librarians do--educating our children--more difficult.
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Steph Campbell said...

As someone whose 4th grade son was told he couldn't finish reading Lord of the Flies because it was over 400 pts below his Lexile, this was such a great, timely post. Thank you!

storyqueen said...

Ah, the lexile! It is crazy that we need to numerify something that is not really a number. Language is language and numbers are a language of their own.

Anyway, I don't think that numbers can ever truly represent a piece of literature. That being said, my problem is more with that child's teacher (and her mom) than the lexile of your book. The teacher is abusing the lexile system by trying to confine her students' reading into a number. Just because a book has a number of 500, does not mean that the content is appropriate for all third graders. The lexile attempts to measure word and sentence length difficulty but has NO BEARING WHATSOEVER on content!!!

Sorry for the rant. Off of the soap box now.

Wait, I want to tell the mom to stand up for her kid and encourage her to read diversely and widely, not narrowly.

That is all.

Great topic, Mike.


Lenore Appelhans said...

This is the first I've heard of the Lexile system. I looked up LEVEL 2 - it has a score of 770. That kind of flabbergasts me!

Karin Perry said...

This is a great post. This is just another way we punish kids under the ruse of helping them, Acellerated Reader being the other. Come on! It just isn't common sense. NIGHT in an elementary school? This just kills the kids' desire to pick up a book if everything they WANT to read isn't allowed. We need to educate parents, administrators, teachers, and librarians about the importance of free choice and reading for pleasure.

B.E. Sanderson said...

WTF?? I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the absolute stupidity of something like a Lexile system. Makes me glad I homeschooled, but it totally ticks me off for all the kids who are subjected to this crap. I posted a link to this on my FB page. Not that I think it will help. Once a loony idea gets a foothold in public ed, it's hard to shake it loose again. Thanks for bringing attention to this, Mike.

Christi said...

I have SO many problems with reading programs that I don't even know where to start. The district that my library is in started a pilot Lexile program over the summer--by sending home the score and the website. Parents were constantly coming in asking us for the "800 section" of the library. UGH. Not only do we not catalog our collection according to Lexile, our catalog does not offer that as a search function.

My daughter's school just started the Guided Reading program and I think that one is just as bad. Especially when her teacher decides she's an "O" and therefore cannot read Harry Potter in class any longer--even though she's already read the first two books.

Why can't kids just read what they want????

Lexie said...

This honestly sounds like another way for parents to fob off responsibility for what their children read.

Will these parents who so eagerly endorse LEXILE (which nitpick, that's my handle on a number of forums >.>) now, allow their 6-7-8 year old child to read a book like NIGHT because its such a LOW Lexile score? I read that book when I was about 15 and while it disturbed me I understood and comprehended why it was important to read such. I couldn't imagine reading it at half my age and understanding the importance of Wiesel's message. All I'd know is horrible, terrible things happened to these people.

Everyone reads at a different enjoyment and/or comprehension level. Arbitrary scores like this system, with people following them with blind cult like devotion, doesn't help anyone. Least of all that not quite so eager reader who takes a little longer to transition into older books.

Lexie said...

and to clarify--I don't think ALL parents fob off responsiblity. There's plenty of parents I know and talk to who take an active approach to their children's reading progress and take time to discuss books with them.

However for every one parent does that I know two dozen others who didn't and blamed everyone but themselves when their kid turned out to be a slow/lazy reader or reading inappropriate books for their age/comprehension level.

Unknown said...

"You should read ASHFALL first, then--it depicts an apocalypse realistically. It's very violent. Definitely not appropriate for all sixth-graders."

Still laughing at this. Great post.

Jaime Morrow said...

My jaw just hit the table too. What?! This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard of yet in the school system, and as a former teacher I already have a list a mile long. I think the part that bothered me most was that school boxing up Elie Wiesel's NIGHT and sending them down to earlier readers. Despite how simplistic the writing might be, in-depth discussion of the content is probably for an older audience. (I know that works like THE BOOK THIEF and HANA'S SUITCASE are used at younger levels and that they deal with the Holocaust, but still.)

In our school system kids study WWII in Grade 12, most likely because they can go more in-depth with discussion of the Holocaust and the politics surrounding that war. But all of that aside, telling kids what they can and can't read because they're above the reading level of particular books is moronic. There is much to be learned from books that aren't necessarily at your reading level. Heck, I still love me a good picture book!

M.A.D. said...

Being as how my children exited the public school system a few years back, I can honestly say that this is the first time I've heard of this absurd Lexile program.

*slams head into brick wall* What the hell is WRONG with people that they would actually think this is a good idea?!

By the time I was 11, my reading and comprehension was such, that I was - via special permission - allowed to check out ANY book at our city library. Which, of course, further boosted my ability to read & comprehend. *derp*

Had something as limiting as Lexile been in place in our school system, I'd still be farting around with The Little Engine That Could ... :P

Guilie Castillo said...

Jaw's hit the table, I'm officially flabbergasted. Why does this make me think of Fahrenheit 450, or Brave New World? Creepy, man, but I think we here all agree. I hope everyone with children takes this very seriously and *does* something about it.

Great writing is simple. I love that sentence, Mike. As a writer of lit-fic, I see a lot of endeavor for complexity, as though by making things complicated the reader will be befuddled enough to gasp, "this is brilliant". Ha.

Wait. Those Lexile-implementing teachers might.

Annie said...

YES. That is all I have to say.

GunDiva said...

I allowed my kids to read any book they wanted to - afterall, the point is to get them to read and enjoy it. Two of my children are voracious readers, the third doesn't enjoy it, but he has good reading comprehension.

I'm glad that they have already graduated and are not subjected to this asinine thinking.

Lea said...

You have to is all about the quantifiable data point. It no longer matters to most in administration if kids are enjoying reading, all that matters is the numbers are going up.

I label the books in my classroom with Lexiles and points because my students have learned to use the Lexiles as guideposts and because many want to participate in the librarian's incentive program based on the points. I do not require my students to read only in their Lexile, mainly because I teach 5th and 6th grade gifted students and there is little that is age-appropriate at their Lexiles, but also because most Lexiles just don't make sense. I just want them to read and to love reading. I've read 99% of the books in my classroom library, so I know it it's appropriate or not.

Unknown said...

Dang. There are better ways to do what I think Lexile is trying to achieve...

We had Accelerated Reader (AR) at my schools, elementary and middle, which I absolutely loved because I got points and occasionally prizes for reading and then taking short quizzes on what I'd read. I found it very rewarding. I also thought the levels matched up fairly well with grades - 4th grade level for books like the Treasured Horses Collection and Nancy Drew, 8th grade for children's "classics" like Heidi, Tom Sawyer, and Anne of Green Gables. Still room for argument with these, of course, but they're not as ridiculous as those Lexile levels...

The only times I didn't entirely like AR were the years I had teachers who decided it was okay to block my level. I was in fourth grade, so I wanted to read fourth-grade-level horse novels, dang it, even if my level was much higher. But, fortunately, most of my teachers weren't like that, and I quite happily read all over the levels.

MissSusie said...

I so agree as a librarian (public not school) I have kids come in and most books are not appropriate for their age especially the good readers. I also think it forces kids to read outside of their comfort zone. When a child is a good reader let them read whatever they want.

I also can't figure out how they determine these numbers some really shock me.

I unfortunately don't have children in school anymore and my library is not affiliated with the school in anyway, I have however voiced my opinions to certain teachers and parents!

Unknown said...

Thanks for all the excellent comments. I apologize for not responding earlier--I posted this late last night, and I've been on the run ever since doing school and library visits in the Chicago area. I particularly appreciate all the reposts and tweets of this--it'd be wonderful if we could get enough attention to force a change in some of these schools.

Ange said...

I agree Mike! It's so ridiculous and frustrating! AND, I AM a public school librarian. Lexiles are completely odd, they pinhole students and ultimately can kill the love and curiosity in reading we try to foster as librarians in all patrons!
BUT, Lea is also completely right! It's ALL ABOUT DATA! Our system is completely and wholeheartedly all about data. They must have data on students learning, teachers teaching, etc. Data, Data, Data! It's how they determine if we as a school are doing well, it's how they determine whether teachers are good teachers or not, it's even how some are paid more or not paid more depending on your district. If your student's data is always going up...then ALL must be ok.
There's nothing more frustrating and depressing then to have gone through my whole journey with a student of finding out what they last read, what they like, what they do in their spare time, etc... get a book or 2 into their hands that they are actually interested in or *gasp* even excited about only to have them say "Is it in my Lexile?" The answer is usually no, and they put the book(s) right back! GRRR! *bangs head on shelving* Such a frustrating tangled web...

Unknown said...

A great deal of confusion surrounds text complexity - CCR Anchor Standard #10 for Reading Literature and Informational Text. There are three parts to text complexity: 1) Qualitative, 2) Quantitative and lexile would be one way to measure, and 3) Reader and Task. If one reads Appendix A carefully, the authors state that all three are equal; but if one had to choose, qualitative is the most important.

It seems as though someone "key worded" lexile as the main idea. Check the source!

Unknown said...

@Fran: Do you work for Lexile? Your comment is an example of the type of poor writing Lexile is training our students to do. What's CCR? What appendix are you referring to? Why do we need to turn key-word into a verb? Who's this someone you're referring to? Your comment would no doubt score well on the Lexile system.

Good writing is simple, clear, and concise. It's easy to understand. By rating complicated writing higher than simple writing, Lexile is teaching our students to write poorly. We'd be better served if we abandoned expensive and harmful systems like Lexile.

Michelle Madow said...

THANK YOU, Mike, for posting this!! When I was on book tour for Remembrance last winter, I encountered a school with the Lexile system. The librarian explained it all to me. I listened politely, since I knew nothing I said would make them change the system, but the whole time I was listening I was appalled. When I was in high school I probably would have tested at a high Lexile level, and I looked through my favorite books at the school library and discovered many of them weren't high on the Lexile scale, but were books I loved that encouraged my love for reading.

Telling a child they "can't read" something they're interested in is terrible, and I'm so glad to see you speaking out on this issue. I would encourage any child who goes to a school with the Lexile system to boycott the system, and then include on their college application that they read ___ books a year, not because the school declares certain books "acceptable", but because they have a passion for reading.

Thanks again for posting about this.

Sharon said...

I am a children's literature reviewer and I give booktalks to parents, teachers, librarians and most importantly, students. If the students are in junior high or high school, I tell them Lexiles are B.S. (and yes, I use the whole word, but I do ask teacher permission first), in elementary school, I say Hooey. I got reamed for this last year by a high school teacher. She said I was not 'allowed' to say this. I said, "okay, how about if I tell them Byron Barton's BOARD book, The Wee Little Woman is 1300 on Lexile and Moby Dick is 1200 and they can figure it out for themselves?" Lexiles do harm up and down reading levels. They take good books away from proficient readers and make those who are struggling ashamed. It's criminal. Thank you for posting this.

Molly said...

Ugh. My school had Accelerated Reader, and it absolutely kept me from reading good books. I wrote about it on my blog.

As a kid, I always wanted to write a book about 10-year-olds for 10-year-olds, but at a high reading level, because there were absolutely no books like this for me to read. Now I realize that was an awful idea (and painful - I love cutting words out), but even more awful is the system that confined me to such a small selection of books.

In a time when books have become about words and not meaning, it's no wonder kids hate to read.

R.C. Lewis said...

(Sorry in advance for the long comment.) This is definitely an issue in a lot of schools, and I agree wholeheartedly that the experiences Mike shared were ridiculous.

I do want to offer a potential flip-side, though, just as some food for thought.

For several years, I taught at a school for the deaf. In my calculus class one year, I had a half dozen girls. One had been beyond a high school reading level since at least 8th grade, if not earlier. Another was at about a 5th grade reading level. The other girls hit most of the levels in-between.

I found Lexiles and other grade-level measures useful as a tool, and I'll tell you why. That girl at a 5th grade level asked me for book recommendations. She asked what grade level they were at, whether they were at or just a little above her level ... because she wanted to challenge herself and improve, but not be frustrated and unable to understand and enjoy the book. Sure, she could've just picked whatever looked interesting. She'd tried that, dipping into books that frustrated her and closing them up again. Time wasted, frustration increasing, motivation waning. Those numbers helped me find books in the right zone for her.

I had other students who weren't as motivated as that girl. Their reading ability was holding steady way too low, because they only read what was easy and comfortable for them. (Understandable. Reading can be hard.) Their vocabularies weren't expanding, and they couldn't handle more complex sentence structures. I don't mean complex like Mike's example--just within the realm of natural sentence variety.

For that reason, I can understand doing something like "For every X free-reading books you choose, at least one has to be at this level or higher." Not saying they CAN'T read other books, but nudging them to incorporate harder books in the mix.

As for those above-level readers, like the other girl in my calculus class, we always figured she could read whatever she wanted. She and I talked about books a LOT, and when it came to "easier" books, we had great conversations about character development, voice, etc.

That's the part that kills me the most about these programs I'm hearing about through Mike's post and the comments. The "you must read ONLY this" and "you CAN'T read any of that" across all kinds of levels. These "magic numbers" are tools that should be used by a human with a brain. They shouldn't be little dictators in their own right.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

@R.C. I'm not opposed to tools that help get the right book in the hands of the right child. Guided Reading levels work that way in my wife's classroom. But determinations of the Guided Reading level are made by humans, not algorithms, and they take interest level and subject matter into account. Nor do the teachers slavishly follow the level recommendations.

Lexile is a problem not just because it's a frequently misused tool, but because it promotes the false and injurious notion that the more complex writing is, the better it is. Our students would be best served if Lexiles were abolished and more nuanced tools used in their place.

R.C. Lewis said...

Absolutely agree, Mike. I'm appalled that anyone (teacher or otherwise) would ever equate a higher lexile score with "better." The teachers I worked with were always very clear that it just meant "harder to read."

Measures of complexity/difficulty such as that can be useful when used in tandem with others. And because that measure can be useful, abolishing it just means a similar one will crop up to serve the purpose.

Rather than say, "Teachers, this scale is evil!" it may be more effective to make sure teachers (and parents) are educated on what it does and does not tell us, and how it should and should not be used.

Sharon said...

See, I just think that Lexiles should NEVER be used. The Old Man and the Sea is considered 3rd grade because Hemingway never used two syllables when he could use one and he almost never used three (okay, don't go and count, I'm just making a point). What's the solution? I hate to put more pressure on teachers or Library Media Techs (so many schools, in fact NONE in my district, do not have Librarians) but the solution is for those recommending books to children actually READ books for children and young adults. One of the best teachers my daughters ever had LOVES Young Adult books and does the most amazing, inspirational book talks.
If you don't have time or energy, or even the liking for the books written for the age you're teaching, well, HIRE ME or people like me, whose passion is introducing students to books. :-)

Unknown said...

Amen, hallelujah, and yes, Sharon. Lexiles and their ilk are part of the systematic attack on American education. Eliminating librarians is another part of that attack. De-professionalizing teaching is yet a third prong of the attack. Nothing replaces a skilled teacher or skilled librarian, and our children are paying the price for these misguided attempts to cheapen our schools.

Sharon said...

Mike, I completely agree with you. It's even more disturbing when this mindset often comes from the administrators. Our district superintendent got rid of our district librarian, thereby putting us out of compliance with state law (we are supposed to have ONE person with an MLS, but in our 15 school district, we have no one - in fact, as far as categorization goes, Library Media Tech is the same job level as Bus Driver.

Also, when people say, "Lexiles may be a bad tool, but at least it's a place to start." My answer is "So, we should start Geography class by teaching the world is flat, and go from there?" Grrr Argh

Unknown said...

That's my favorite comment yet!

Unknown said...

At private school I never dealt with AR, but it was there when I entered the public school system. There were books I'd find in book stores or online, and THEY WEREN'T THERE. I wanted to read them. But I couldn't justify doing it when I needed 100 AR points at the end of the semester.
I hear AR has been better about that. But limiting by levels is still something I take issue with. My librarian snuck around my teacher's back in 6th grade to get me a book I wanted. She was a pretty cool lady, but it's silly that was necessary.
When I was much younger we did book reports. WHERE DID THOSE GO?! I liked that because I was free to present the book how I wanted, and my teachers could see how well I knew the material.
I resented reading once I started AR. I just saved my non-AR books for the summer and ate them up.

Unknown said...

I realize this is Lexile, not AR, but if I didn't like AR, I KNOW I don't like Lexile.

Louise said...

I work in a public library. Whenever a parent asks for help finding a book with a certain Lexile range for their child (never once in this conversation will a parent also say, "That they'd enjoy reading.") I can't help myself, but I go into my feelings regarding this awful system and why parents should stand up to the teachers and refuse to select books based on a number rating system. "Because," I explain, "Lexile is ineffective and only frustrates children as they look for a book. Plus, people throughout history have done very well without Lexile. Look at Einstein, Carl Sagan, the Dali Lama, our President, and most especially...You!"

PamelaTrounstine said...

@Mike- Fran was totally backing you up. She's talking about the new Common Core State Standards, Reading Anchor Standard #10, and was paraphrasing. Which is going into effect for 45.5 states now or soon. And yes, the first draft of it actually used "Lexile or Lexile-like" in the body of the material. If you didn't know about them, you can read about them at It can potentially improve the opportunities for reading for our lowest students, if materials can't be oversimplified for them. You might also want to look at the writing while you're at it, though, as there is hope to be had there as well.... very little writing going on in the current configurations.

Sharon said...
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Sharon said...

In reply to Louise, Good For You!! When I used to work at the children's desk of our local library I'd have kids come up to me and say "I'm a 500." or whatever. I'd say, "You're a human being, not a number. So, what's the last book you read? Was it easy or hard? What did you like about it? Okay, we'll take it from there." (and no, none of these kids get my nerdy The Prisoner reference).

Anonymous said...

No machine can measure the beauty of language or the depth of meaning in the sparest of sentences.

Common Core developers had good intentions, but reliance on Lexiles reinforces suspicions that the curriculum is inherently flawed. It is more about dollars than sense. Publishing houses are apparently strong-armed into the Lexile system. The Lexile assessors charge big bucks to "test" our kids' reading levels.

Our education system does not honor good teachers. It does not respect respectable teachers. It forces librarians to be score keepers. It teaches parents and students to be sheep herded toward mediocrity.

Brain drain continues, and we are adrift, at sea.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

@ M.A.D. What a laugh that someone touting their reading comprehension so thoroughly failed to understand. While, at 680, The Little Engine That Could is a relatively high lexile level book for its target audience, even average readers have a lexile level beyond that before exiting elementary school. Forcing strong readers to read "easy" texts is not really the problem with using lexile levels. (Set aside, here, issues with how lexile levels are measured for students and the consequent (in)accuracy of those measurements.)

Mike is right on with the problem he identifies, however. We face exactly that problem in our school - and I consider our school to be an excellent one, not only because its test scores are good, but because every teacher I've encountered is very engaged with the education of the kids in their charge, they do their best to engage each kid at their level, and even within the constraints placed by the public school system (which aren't as awful as many people like to make out) they present the kids with a variety of rich educational experiences outside of readin', writin' and 'rithmetic. Our school makes use of SRI's Reading Counts: a child accumulates points by reading books and taking quizzes to demonstrate that they've understood. Apparently, the general policy has been to give no points for books under a low end lexile level (somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 points below the measured lexile level). My son's third grade (and, now, fourth - he looped up with her) teacher gives half points for books that are "too low." This year, with some prodding from me, for "high lexile level readers, she's giving 80% points for books that are in the 100 point band just under the student's low end lexile level. While that may not be a perfect solution, it at least reduces the disincentive to read worthwhile books that are deemed too easy when only lexile level is considered.

I, too, view lexile level with skepticism. But I don't think it's completely worthless, especially not used with some understanding of its inherent (and possible) limitations. The developers of the lexile measure don't pretend that it's the be all and end all. Much research has been done on ways of measuring reading comprehension difficulty. (I am far from an expert.) I encourage everyone to check some of it out, if you haven't already.

(Posted this without reading beyond M.A.D. Could be what I've said is addressed by others.)

Unknown said...

So, finally read/skimmed the rest. Sharon (and Mike) presents the problems with, and arguments against, lexile measures especially powerfully and well. But I am still with R.C. in believing that lexile measures can have some utility, with some understanding of what they're meant to measure and without the rigidity in application that, unfortunately, you can find among teachers and schools (and definitely among parents).

Tauni said...

@Sharon - you said, "Lexiles do harm up and down reading levels. They take good books away from proficient readers and make those who are struggling ashamed. It's criminal."

I could not have summed that up better! I just wish I could share that with the Jordan School District in Utah; unfortunately, I believe they are more concerned over their federal funding than the actual child and his/her feelings.

Greg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenn B said...

I had no idea that schools were forcing Lexile ranges on students! Our school uses it as a metric - along with Guided reading levels. Nothing more. (thankfully).

Honestly, I had no idea how it was calculated, and looking at Lexile ranges of some of the books that I love (seeing some Tess Gerritson's - particularly one heavy with NASA terminology - at the 750 level) I started to question the relevance.

Working on a book geared towards 1st-3rd graders, I have to wonder - will this force some children's authors to alter sentence length in order to be included in curriculum?

I hope not.

jahcriado said...

I work in a district & had heard of it, but never investigated it (I am a tech guy & don't have direct involvement with kids). But I had to create some shortcuts to Scholastics web search for it so I thought I'd look into it. I was, honestly, disgusted. Dune, that masterpiece, was only in the 800's, the same as the first Harry Potter book which I couldn't read because it was poorly written (I do like the story but the style was too 3rd grade for me). So is Shakespeare! So is Faulkner! Crime And Punishment! Of Mice & Men! And these kids are going to be missing these amazing books at these key times in life because they "aren't up to their level"...

Stacy said...

What frightens me are teachers that stick hard and fast to a Lexile. Lexile guides me to ideas, but I look at themes, text complexity, student interest and students ability. One number does not work.

Stacy said...

What frightens me are teachers that stick hard and fast to a Lexile. Lexile guides me to ideas, but I look at themes, text complexity, student interest and students ability. One number does not work.

Gingerbread said...

Unfortunately, teachers are being evaluated based on reading growth according to lexiles. Some counties are " paying for performance " using this as one of the indicators. Students are also being retained based on lexiles.
As a middle school language arts teacher, the pressure to teach novels in the lexile band is being pushed from the top down. If students don't show growth ,we will be held responsible by parents and administration.
These are the sad facts.