“How am I going to use this in life?” Has this question frequented your classroom? There are concepts that I teach that I often question the value in (I mean, who really cares what a verbal is?), but one thing I will NEVER question or doubt putting all my effort into teaching and helping students with is reading and literacy. No matter what profession you choose or what life has in store for you, the need to be able to read and write is imperative. Period.
This is where the value in using lexile scores as a platform for discussions in your school can be found. Lexiles should be a common term that appears in faculty meetings, professional development, and in curriculum planning days. It should not be a “BUZZ” word but a part of the common lingo in your school.
What are Lexiles?
A lexile is a measurement tool used to identify where students are in their reading ability and to level books by their difficulty. A Lexile measure can be interpreted as the level of book that a student can read with 75% comprehension. It is a useful tool for teachers, parents, and students to help gauge where students are reading, where they should be, monitor their progress, and decide on a plan to help them move forward.
Students normally receive a lexile score from a reading assessment and the state’s standardized test. We use the Reading Inventory (formerly Scholastic Reading Inventory) to test our students three times a year to get beginning, middle, and end of the year data. Lexiles start at BR (Beginning Reader) and go up to 1700L. These scores break down into where students should be in each grade level. The chart below breaks down the grade level proficiency bands according to Scholastic and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Why are Lexiles so Important?
Everything in life it literacy based, and if our students are not learning to read and write, they are being set up for failure. It has to be an “all-hands-on-deck” process, where teachers work together with parents and the students themselves to make sure they are getting the literacy skills needed to be successful in the future. See the chart below to see how lexiles are important beyond the classroom and further into life and adulthood.
How to Use the Data
Lexiles can be incredibly useful in the classroom in all subject areas. If you use leveled articles through websites such as NewsELA, Smithsonian Tween Tribune, or Readworks, knowing the students lexiles helps in assigning different articles to students that are more on their ability level. It can also help you know what books are good for checkout in the library. Click here to access a tool for choosing the right books based on lexile level.
While I think it is important to level the articles for students to be able to read them confidently, I also think it is important to challenge students with higher-level articles. When students take standardized tests, they are not going to have “leveled” texts, and in life, they are not going to have “leveled” texts. They need to be able to make their way through reading at lexiles higher than their own level. To help with this, I highly recommend the use of PALS Reading Strategy and Reciprocal Teaching. Lexiles are used for the grouping of these strategies. You can check out my blog post HERE for further information on these two strategies.
Lexiles create the perfect platform for student ownership!
By allowing students to track their own data, set goals, and design action plans to meet their goals, you are embedding a life skill in them. The buy-in shown through allowing them to take this ownership will blow you away. They will look forward to the next lexile test and be reading and taking advantage of the opportunities to better their score. Even your non-readers will take more initiative in their reading and desires to achieve more.
The use of data tracking and goal setting helps create a sense of competitiveness in the students with THEMSELVES! I always urge the students to beat their last score. I make it clear that this is not a competition with peers, but with ourselves to better ourselves. I use conferencing with students to help them in their goal setting and action steps. You can check out my blog post on Lexile Conferencing HERE. You can also check out my Conference CHARTS or BROCHURES here, if interested.
***Check out this FREE PRESENTATION on understanding the SAM Platform and knowing which Reading Inventory Reports to pull for different purposes!!!***