What do Jeff Kinney 's popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Ray Bradbury 's classic Fahrenheit 451 have in common? What about Gossip Girl: A Novel, Cicely von Ziegesar 's catty romance and The Great Gilly Hopkins, Katherine Paterson 's 1979 Newbery Honor book? While clear distinctions exist between each book 's literary merit, age appropriateness, and reader appeal, these titles possess one similarity--they sit within the same Lexile text complexity band.**
Well-meaning educators, concerned about increasing text complexity and reading rigor, engage in this game of "Guess My Lexile" when denouncing the low-reading level of young adult literature, elevating certain titles over others, or dictating book purchases and recommended reading lists. But looking at just a few examples reveals problems when narrowly evaluating texts by readability number alone.
The Lexile Framework for Reading by Metametrix provides quantitative assessment of both students ' reading levels and texts ' complexity. Students receive a Lexile measure from certain reading tests. Books and other texts receive a Lexile measure from a software tool, the Lexile Analyzer, which evaluates word frequency and sentence length. Many schools use Lexile measures to assess students ' reading levels and match students with appropriately rigorous reading material.
I have no issue with assessing students ' reading levels and identifying text complexity. As a teacher, I find such information helpful when determining my