Latest Lexile Innovation Helps Beginning Readers and Their Teachers

 //  May 9, 2018

Latest Lexile Innovation Helps Beginning Readers and Their Teachers

Below is a guest post from Tim Klasson of MetaMetrics.

High-stakes reading requirements for lower grade levels are being adopted into law across the country. Many of these requirements demand that students demonstrate reading on grade level by the end of third grade. That makes attention to the multifaceted nature of reading development and exposure to a wide variety of early-reading texts, appropriate for a student’s level, more important than ever.

For the past five years, MetaMetrics has focused on enhancing the Lexile measurement system of early-reading materials for grades K-2. Through these enhancements, educators have a valuable tool by which to target student reading growth across these crucial grades. Teachers will now be able to more accurately match beginning readers to book features that support the needs of each student.

Here’s what’s new with the Lexile measurement system and how it helps beginning readers and those helping them learn to read:

The Lexile® scale is extended for beginning readers.

Previously, all books measuring below 0L were simply given a “BR” (Beginning Reader) code. Now texts with a BR code will receive a Lexile measure (e.g., BR100L). The higher the number after the BR code, the less complex the text (e.g. BR200L is less complex than BR100L). The addition of a Lexile measure for books below 0L provides a clearer picture of the complexity of these texts and allows for greater differentiation at the beginner level.

K–2 content is now measured across more dimensions.

Early-reading texts have unique characteristics such as easy-to-decode words, repetition and patterning to help students learn to read. Incorporating input from teachers and reading specialists, and through studies on the reading behaviors of young students, MetaMetrics researchers spent several years analyzing hundreds of characteristics that influence text complexity. This research identified nine characteristics that most accurately and reliably measure the complexity of K–2 content. These nine characteristics were incorporated into the algorithm that is used to determine the Lexile measure of a book or piece of text, ensuring that Lexile measures are more reliable and accurate for these early-reading texts.

New information is now offered to help identify and address different types of text challenges.

The nine early-reading text characteristics fall within four early-reading indicators dealing with structure, syntax, semantics and decoding. 

These early-reading indicators are provided alongside Lexile measures for texts with measures of 650L or below (See Figure 1). A Lexile text measure of 650L corresponds with the complexity of typical reading materials at the end of second grade. 

This new information can help identify important text features that may present reading challenges. For example, a text with a low decoding early-reading indicator (i.e., many easy-to-decode words) could be selected for a student who is ready to apply their knowledge of basic sound and letter relationships and patterns and practice reading independently. The early-reading indicators can be used also to ensure that a reader is getting exposed to a variety of different types of reading materials. To learn more about the early-reading indicators, view our video Using Early-Reading Indicators in the Classroom

With these enhancements, finding the most appropriate books for beginning readers is easier. Explore the enhancements by using:

Learn more about these enhancements and view an informational webinar by visiting





Image via MetaMetrics