If you are looking at children’s books for school you might notice a Lexile Number at the back. “A Lexile measure is a valuable tool for teachers, parents, and students. … The higher the Lexile measure, the higher the student’s reading level. The reader’s Lexile Framework works in intervals of five with 5L being the lowest. The highest possible measure is 2000L.”
But what exactly does that mean? What is a good score for a grade level?
The thing is, Lexiles measure a book’s complexity by a painfully literal algorithm of sentence length, word choice, and syntax.
To be fair, it’s only meant to be a rough guideline rather than some iron-clad dictum or curriculum. And any teacher knows that a work can have a low Lexile difficulty while being thematically unsuitable for younger readers. But still. How can Hemingway be lower than Mr. Poppers Penguins?
What are your thoughts on this? Should the complexity of the subject matter mean more than the vocabulary?