March 14, 2017

A New Way to Discover Books with Learning Ally and Lexile

It’s a question we are often asked – how do I know if this book is appropriate for my child’s grade level and comprehension? In response, Learning Ally has aligned our human-narrated audiobook library with one more tool to help – Lexile levels. The Lexile system is one that the majority of our educators are using to promote their student’s reading progress.

Lexile Cartoon

So, what is Lexile? 

A Lexile measure is a valuable tool for teachers, parents, and students. It serves two unique functions: it is the measure of how difficult a text is OR a student’s reading ability level. The Lexile Framework was developed by MetaMetrics©, an educational assessment and research team, funded originally by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

How does a student receive a reading level? 

Students across the country take standardized reading tests. Based on these tests, they are given a score to determine their reading ability. These scores then help the teacher link the right book/content to that student.

What is the Lexile Framework of Reading?

Paperback with audio deviceThe Lexile Framework is made up of two different measures:

Lexile reader measure: A measure that students receive from taking a reading test. It describes the student’s reading ability. This can be used to monitor growth in reading ability over time.

Lexile text measure: A measure that books and other texts receive from a software tool called the Lexile Analyzer. It describes the book’s reading demand or difficulty, based on well-established predictors of how difficult a text is to comprehend: word frequency, vocabulary, and sentence length. It does not measure age-appropriateness, book quality, the book’s theme or other such characteristics of the book.

How do the two Lexile Measures work together?

Based on a student’s Lexile reader measure, the teacher or parent can match their student or child with books in the appropriate Lexile text measure range.

Lexile measures do NOT measure age-appropriateness, the book quality, the book’s theme or other such characteristics of the book. For example, To Kill A Mockingbird is a fairly simple book to read but may have a theme that is inappropriate for a certain age group. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School may have more complex words and phrases and therefore has a higher Lexile measure.

Lexile measures are based on two well-established predictors of how difficult a text is to comprehend: word frequency and sentence length. Many other factors affect the relationship between a reader and a book, including its content, the age and interests of the reader, and the design of the actual book. The Lexile measure is a good starting point in your book-selection process, but you should always consider these other factors when making a decision about which book to choose.

What are Lexile codes?

Lexile codes are two-letter designations that appear before the Lexile measure (i.e, AD580L).  Lexile codes give you more information about a book that relates to its developmental appropriateness, reading difficulty, and common or intended usage. Please see Lexile Framework for Reading for more information regarding Lexile Codes.

Lexile measures match the right text with the right student. Learning Ally is now not only giving access to content, but we are helping students access the appropriate content to help them progress in their reading skills. To find out more about Lexile measures, log onto

LALogo_V_Tag_RGB - Copy - CopyThen, get started with Learning Ally today! Learning Ally is a national nonprofit that provides human-narrated audiobooks to students with certified print disabilities like dyslexia or a visual impairment. You can browse our audiobook library for free, then consider signing up for a Learning Ally Quick Start Package in your school. Find out more: 


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– Jules Johnson

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