RANT TIME! Lexiles – just stop

Seriously, who ever you are out there telling kids that they need to read on “their lexile level”, just stop. That is NOT how you teach people to read. It does not help improve their reading. All it does is make them unable to pick up the books they want to read and struggle with titles that they are uninterested in.

When I’m helping a reluctant reader find a book and I hear the word “lexile” I want to scream. If you want your child to enjoy reading, match them up with a book that is interesting to them and fits into their life.

Let’s be honest, you’re just telling your kid they are deficient in some way. It’s like the parent that tells the child “that’s too hard for you”. Now they have an *approved* way to make their child feel bad about not reading on a certain made-up level. Instead of saying “you’re too dumb/slow/below the grade level” now parents can say “it has to be on a lexile of” blah blah blah.

Guess what, the Lexile is generated by a computer, and we all know how great *those* work. It scans the text, calculates the vocabulary, and makes up a number. Meaning the writing in a classic novel by Ernest Hemingway is on par or lower than Hunger Games. Yeah, THOSE are the same reading experience. (Go ahead, search some of your favorites and see how ridiculous this thing is. Think about what kind of reader you would have been with this restriction placed on you.)

(oh and surprise surprise these are the geniuses behind the new Common Core that everyone is so excited about)

Please please please – do not enforce lexiles! If you need it for your behind-the-scenes paperwork, that is fine, but don’t mention it to a parent or child. They will obsess over it and there will be no gray area. I just had a young girl ask about the lexile level of a book and – guess what – the publisher did not get it submitted for a lexile rating so it doesn’t have one. So she is not allowed read it. And when it comes to reading and school, kids can really only fit in what “counts”.

Do yourself and your child a favor: Find a librarian that loves to read and knows how to do reader’s advisory for kids, tweens, and teens, they can find a book that will connect with your child, not just fill in another standardized test way, but on a level that will make them get why people get excited about reading. We are out here, Reader’s Advisory is one of our favorite parts of the job.

Okay…my rant is over. For now…

But if you want more READER!WRITER!RAGE check out these posts:
How the Lexile system harms students

Guess My Lexile (this one has lots of great links at the bottom too)

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2 thoughts on “RANT TIME! Lexiles – just stop

  1. I loved this post. I despise Lexiles, and I think a lot of parents see through them, too. You can have very abstract/philosophical texts which actually have fairly low Lexiles. Will the reader “get” the text? Possibly not! Texts are so much more complicated than what Lexiles presume them to be.

    1. Thank you! I just fear that because this is the same company that has now created “common core” I will be hearing more of these kinds of requests. I will continue to run interference because I find it so frustrating when someone denies another person the right to read what they want, especially based on some arbitrary number decided by a computer. I think if the rating system was done by reading teachers and librarians, I would have more faith in it. And, sadly, I think the parents who are obsessed with their child “achieving” are the ones that will fall prey to this scam first. At least, that is what it feels like. But I will fight the good fight and make sure kids do not leave without a readable book in their hands.

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