Talking to Students About Lexile® Measures

Have you ever looked at your Lexile® report in myON and wondered, “What is going wrong?” You’re not alone. If your students are using myON regularly but not showing adequate Lexile growth, chances are you aren’t talking to them about their Lexile measures frequently enough. Having ongoing conversations about Lexile measures can help your students take ownership of their own reading growth. The good news is that it’s never too late to start.

The Lexile Framework is a scientific way to match readers with text using a common scale. myON uses a student’s Lexile Range as one criteria (along with grade level and interest) in recommending “just right” books to that student. A student’s Lexile Range is typically 100 L below to 50 L above his or her Lexile Measure. The Lexile Measure is a number that represents a student’s independent reading level.

What Students Need to Know About Lexile Measures

Students of all grade levels should have some understanding of what a Lexile measure is, how the benchmark assessments impact their Lexile measure, and how this measure is used to help them find “just right” books in myON. If you’re starting to have these conversations with students, it’s important to be as specific as possible and use age-appropriate language.

Each student has a Lexile Measure based on the most recent benchmark assessment. Encourage students to use the embedded tools to help them take ownership of their reading growth: 

View, Compare, Track, Search

While you might be tempted to post Lexile grade charts to motivate students, be careful. This can backfire with some learners. Students who fall below the recommended grade bands may feel discouraged or embarrassed, while students who meet or exceed the recommended grade bands may feel they don’t have to push as hard. Instead, focus your attention on reading growth. Remind students that they are competing against themselves.

How Students Can Take Ownership of Their Reading 

Stepping on a scale only measures your weight but doesn’t actually change what you weigh. Similarly, benchmark assessments only measure a student’s reading growth. To ensure students grow as readers, encourage them to take ownership of their reading. They can do this by following three simple steps:

1. Read every day. Independent reading outside of school should be a daily activity. Adding even 10 minutes a day can have a big impact over the course of a school year. 

2. Choose the right books. Reading within the recommended Lexile range is helpful, but it’s also important to have fun reading. Encourage students to pick books that appeal to them as readers. myON has funny, scary, or exciting books for readers at all levels.

3. Actively use the audio narration. Some readers worry that using the audio narration isn’t really reading, so they turn it off. Others use the narration in lieu of reading; listening to books rather than following along. Let your students know that to grow as readers they need to use both the audio narration and the text. Listening to the audio while following along with the highlighted text will improve fluency, vocabulary and help students grow as readers faster than reading or listening alone.

Finally, remind learners that Lexile measures are just one way to match students with books. It’s important for students to know that there may be times to read outside their “just right” reading level, depending on their purpose for reading.

Interested in learning more about how to use student data and reporting to improve student engagement and inform reading instruction? Check out this webinar for some great tips. 

Susannah Moran

Susannah Moran is the senior project manager for myON. Susannah began her career as a New York City English teacher and literacy specialist. She has worked in hundreds of schools, integrating technology into teaching and learning and providing onsite support for teachers.