Is My Child Reading at Grade Level?
Q. My son
is in second grade and he struggles with the Arthur books that my older child
thought were fun and a breeze to read in first grade. I'm worried that my son
is not reading at grade level, but his teacher keeps saying that he's fine and
right on track. What's an independent way to measure reading ability that won't
make my son feel bad about himself?
One way is to take a book
that he enjoys reading, and find out the book's Lexile score. Then
take one that causes him a lot of trouble, and assess its score. Although they
aren't exactly tied to grade levels, Lexile scores can give parents a pretty
good idea of where a child stands with reading comprehension. Parents can use
these measurements as a guide in purchasing books for the child or helping him
or her check out good books in the library that will be just right for his or
her reading progress.
According to the Lexile website (see Homework, below), "Lexile
measures are based on two well-established predictors of how difficult a text
is to comprehend: semantic difficulty (word frequency) and syntactic
complexity (sentence length). In order to Lexile a book or article, text is
split into 125-word slices. Each slice is compared to the nearly 600-million
word Lexile corpus - taken from a variety of sources and genres - and words in
each sentence are counted. These calculations are put into the Lexile equation.
Then, each slice's resulting Lexile measure is applied to the Rasch
psychometric model to determine the Lexile measure for the entire text."
books, "Arthur and the Recess Rookie" (370L), "Arthur Goes to
Camp" (380L) and "Arthur, Clean Your Room!" (370L) fall within
the Lexile range of a typical second grader. These books have shorter sentences
and words appear frequently. Conversely, look at the scores of "Little
Women" (1300L) and "Don Quixote" (1410L), indicating that they
contain longer sentences and more complex words.
Once you have
an idea of your child's Lexile measure, you can search the Lexile Book Database
to find books that are similar to the student's reading level. You can search
by title or author, Lexile range or keywords, or ISBN. See: www.Lexile.com/BookSearch.
the FAQ's and other resources on www.lexile.com