The MetaMetrics "Lexile Framework for Reading" is one of the best known methods of measuring text complexity and monitoring a student's reading ability. The new "Common Core [Educational] Standards" being adopted across the country call for a sweeping increase in text complexity, so understanding how to calculate the Lexile level of a text or the Lexile reading range appropriate for a child is becoming more important than ever. Parents, teachers and students alike can benefit from the use of Lexile calculator tools.

How can I Calculate a Child's Reading level?

A child's Lexile level can be determined with a few clicks of a mouse.
A child's Lexile level can be determined with a few clicks of a mouse.

Most schools using the Lexile system have purchased Lexile testing programs. However, if you are a parent or teacher looking for additional options, there are a wide array of diagnostic programs offered online. Achieve 3000, Ed Gate, National Geographic, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Pearson, Scholastic and many other educational or textbook companies offer free or subscription-based services designed to calculate a K-12 student's Lexile level and to provide supplemental reading instruction.

Can a Student's Lexile Level be Determined by Grade?

Even engaging story books are not "one size fits all."
Even engaging story books are not "one size fits all."

Not all third-, fifth- or 10th-grade students read at exactly the same level. There are charts that list the Lexile reading range commonly found in each grade (K-12); however, parents and teachers should be careful not to rely extensively on these charts. Some students may be reading well above or below the Lexile reading level typically found at their grade level. Instruction and text selection should be differentiated based on students' individual interests and abilities.

How Can I Calculate the Lexile Level of a Text?

The right book can transfix young readers.
The right book can transfix young readers.

To calculate the Lexile level of a text, you will need to go to the Lexile website to use its software (at lexile.com/analyzer). You will type in a portion of the text you wish to analyze and then you will get the results. The software will review things like the rarity of the selection's vocabulary, the length and complexity of sentences and other variables that affect a text's reading difficulty.

Where Can I Find Books Already Labeled by Lexile Level?

Once kids are given books tailored to their ability level, you should see their confidence soar.
Once kids are given books tailored to their ability level, you should see their confidence soar.

If you do not want to spend your time typing paragraphs of text into proprietary software, there are other options. Educational publisher Scholastic has a handy chart allowing you to browse through books already sorted by Lexile level (at scholastic.com). Other publishers offer similar systems. Once you know your child's reading level, ordering him books should be a snap. Additionally, Common Core Standards (at corestandards.org) also provides parents and teachers with a list of exemplar texts listed by grade and text difficulty level.