The Lexile Framework for Reading: A Teacher's Guide to Lexile Measures

The Lexile Framework for Reading: A Teacher's Guide to Lexile Measures
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Created by educational research company, MetaMetrics, the Lexile Framework for Reading provides a universal measurement scheme that teachers can use to accurately match books to the reading ability of their students. When used correctly, teachers can target students as individuals, as opposed to a broader ability level, and promote real growth in reading comprehension. It helps give students confidence in their reading, and can provide them with motivation to make real improvements with their learning.

What Is a Lexile Measure?

The framework is based around a range of Lexile measures. A Lexile measure is a number assigned to a book or magazine that helps the reader identify how challenging it is in relation to their own reading comprehension skills. The higher the number, the more difficult the text. Lexile measures range from 5 to 2,000, and the numbers are often followed by the letter ‘L’ to identify it as a Lexile measurement. Anything below five is designated as BR, or a beginning reader level.

The Lexile Framework for Reading

The Lexile measure for an individual student can often be derived from standardized state tests, but other assessments and reading programs will also provide an accurate measurement. Depending on the method used to obtain a Lexile score, a student may have a single Lexile measure, (e.g. 650L), or a range of Lexile measures, (e.g. 550L - 675L).

Books are assigned Lexile measures based on MetaMetrics' analysis of vocabulary and sentence structure. The popularity of the Lexile Framework has meant that the majority of new books published today will have a Lexile measure assigned to them. However, not all books have a Lexile measure. Publishers need to pay MetaMetrics to analyze their texts, and while most are happy to do this, not all deem a Lexile measure worthwhile for the audience they are seeking to attract. Additionally, older books that are out of print may also not have a Lexile measure.

By matching student reading levels with an appropriate Lexile measure, you can be sure that you are providing the student with a text that is equal to their ability level. In this way, students should be able to avoid reading texts that are either too easy, or too difficult for them.

How Do I Find Lexile Measures for Books?

The Lexile Framework for Reading

Lexile measures can be found by searching the Lexile database. Here you can search for books by title, author, keywords or ISBN number. Input one or more of these fields, click search, and you will be presented with a page of search results that most closely match the text you are looking for.

Be as precise as you can. Searching by author alone, for example, will bring up a list of all the books that the author has written, and depending on the author, that could yield a large number of search results. Searching by title and author is preferable, but ISBN numbers usually provide good results too.

Give It a Try

The Lexile Framework for Reading is one of the most widely used reading measurement systems in existence today. It is free to use, and it offers a number of useful tools for teachers, parents, and students to use in order to support reading skills at school. If you haven’t already tried using it with your class, then now is as good a time as any!


This post is part of the series: The Lexile Framework for Reading

This series of articles shows how best to use the Lexile Framework for Reading in the classroom. It also provides help on how to make it accessible to students and parents.

  1. A Look at the Lexile Reading Framework
  2. How to Use Lexile Reading Levels in the Classroom