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What Is a Lexile Measure?

The Lexile® Framework for Reading is a reading metric that matches readers with text targeted to their ability level. Readers and text are measured on the same developmental scale. Developed by MetaMetrics®, Inc. this scientifically-based approach allows users to easily identify text at a difficulty level that will be appropriately challenging to improve reading skills. LEXILE HAND OUT

How Is a Lexile Measure Represented?

A Lexile measure is a reading ability or text difficulty score followed by an “L” (e.g. “850L”). The Lexile scale is a developmental scale for reading ranging from 200L for beginning readers to above 1700L for advanced text.

How Is a Text’s Lexile Measure Determined?

Lexile measures are based on two well-established predictors of how difficult a text is to comprehend: semantic difficulty (word frequency) and syntactic complexity (sentence length). All the passages in Total Reader's library have been analyzed using the Lexile Analyzer. The Analyzer splits text into 80-word slices. Each slice is compared with the nearly 600-million word Lexile corpus - taken from a variety of sources and genres - and words in each sentence are counted. These calculations are put into the Lexile equation. Then, each slice's resulting Lexile measure is applied to the Rasch psychometric model to determine the Lexile measure for the entire text.

How Is a Reader’s Lexile Measure Determined?

Students select and read age-appropriate Lexiled passages, each with a series of omitted words, called cloze items. For each omitted word (which is representative of the text's overall Lexile measure), the student sees four possible substitutions; by clicking a word, the student fills in the text and can continue reading. The cloze item is presented within the context and flow of the reading passage; the student need not stop or move back and forth between a separate answer page and the passage. The content and associated cloze items are referred to as passages.

After a student completes an initial set of passages, Total Reader produces a Lexile measure. All subsequent passages completed will monitor the student's Lexile measure and report the new measure when change occurs. This way, Total Reader continually generates updated Lexile measures and students are always aware of their reading range. Students have access only to passages in a range from 100L below to 100L above their current measure. This is consistent with The Lexile Framework guidelines for independent reading. The system records progress and represents it in a series of reports.

To get the right start on your Reading Roadmap, we suggest you determine your student's Lexile Reading Level through a great resource like Total Reader. With the assessment complete, it's time to match your student to award nominated books in the appropriate reading range.


With thousands and thousands of books available, how do you find the right books? Blue Ribbon Reading does the research for you! Every year, educators across the country select a certain number of titles as award nominees for their respective states. Blue Ribbon compiles those lists, sorts them by Lexile, and makes them available exclusively to Readola Readathon participants. 


*Remember, students can read books in the levels just above and below where they test, so explore! 


Reading takes you places, so let's go to the Blue Ribbon Books database to find some amazing titles! 


BONUS - Complete the Books on Tour Challenge by reading a book from each state's list of nominees!