A Lexile range allows educators and parents to find books, periodicals, and other reading material that are appropriately challenging for each student. When a Lexile text measure (based on sentence length and vocabulary) matches a Lexile reader measure (from the MAP test), this is called a "targeted" reading experience. The reader will likely encounter some level of difficulty with the text, but not enough to get frustrated. This is the best way to grow as a reader with text that's not too hard but not too easy.
Books on the low end of a student's Lexile range are ideal for independent reading and will build reading fluency and speed. Unknown words begin to make sense on their own, because of the many known words that surround them.
Books on the higher end of the Lexile range will likely contain enough unfamiliar words that they should be read and discussed with parents, teachers or peers to stretch a student's reading skills - especially in the areas of vocabulary and comprehension. Ask the student to keep track of unknown words, and look them up together, or take turns reading aloud to chop up the reading experience into smaller portions.
It is important to remember that a student's Lexile range should not be the only consideration when selecting a book. Even though a student may be able to read books at a certain Lexile, the content or theme of the text may not be appropriate for that particular student. Also, a student may be able to read more difficult content if it is an area of interest for that child, since he or she may already be familiar with some of the vocabulary necessary to comprehend the text. Other considerations should include:
- The complexity of the plot, including the number of interwoven subplots
- Text features like font size, words on a page, illustrations to support meaning and length
- Text structure (stories told from multiple viewpoints or involving shifts in time, for example, tend to be more challenging)
- Language features like heavy use of descriptive and figurative language or specialized vocabulary
- The genre (historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy and non-fiction can be more difficult to comprehend)
Using Age, Interests, and Lexile to Build Personalized Reading Lists
Lexile.com offers a quick and easy way to search for titles in your child’s Lexile range. This free resource can help you build a custom reading list based on your child’s Lexile range, age, and interests. Again, the Lexile score should never be the only consideration when selecting a book, but it can be a starting point particularly if a student is struggling to identify 'good fit' books on his/her own using strategies like 'the three finger rule'.
Concord’s online library catalog can also be a valuable tool. Students in grades 3-5 have been taught to use the Lexile filter to locate books within their Lexile range, so ask your child for a demonstration or view these directions:
Lexile Measures of Commonly Known Books
- Green Eggs and Ham (30L)
- Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping (110L)
- Magic Tree House: Dolphins at Day Break (350L)
- Because of Winn-Dixie (610L)
- The Harry Potter series (ranging from 880L to 1060L)
- Little Women (1300L)
Note: We encourage students with very high Lexile scores (850 or above) to challenge themselves in ways that go beyond the Lexile measure, for example:
See 'Other Considerations' above for more information.
- Reading longer, more complicated books
- Reading a wider variety of genre, especially some of the more challenging genre like historical fiction and fantasy
- Reading plenty of non-fiction
Lexile Measures & Grade Levels
- Emergent & Beginning Learner
- Children reading at the emergent or beginning levels are typically in kindergarten or first grade. It is important that children have opportunities to read stories independently and also time to listen to stories read by adults. Books should be filled with colorful illustrations and vocabulary to stimulate learning.
- Transitional Learner
- Children reading at the transitional level are typically in the second grade. These children need opportunities to read longer text, including chapter books. Adult support is often still needed to monitor comprehension and decode more challenging words.
- Proficient Learner
- Students reading at the proficient level are usually in the third, fourth and sometimes fifth grade. They score between 500-750.
- Maturing Learner
- Students reading at the maturing level are usually in the fifth grade. They score 750 or higher. These children find reading entertaining and may read for extended periods of time. The biggest challenge for teachers, families, and students at this level is finding books that are appropriate for elementary age children which are still challenging.