The Problem With Lexile Ratings

The difficulty of a book cannot be measured by a lexile rating.

According to The Atlantic, Teachers [in America] Are Supposed to Assign Harder Books, but They Aren’t Doing It Yet.

There’s something strange, though, about positioning a book somewhere on the continuum that starts with ‘easy’ and ends with ‘difficult’, because a book’s difficulty, aside from the most basic of measures such as frequency of lesser-used vocabulary, rests not upon the work itself, but in how it is taught.

This issue is close to my heart because I happen to think that even the ‘easiest’ picturebooks can be used as a jump-off point to explore a wide range of difficult themes and ideas. Non-fiction reading of adult difficulty can very naturally accompany the study of the easiest of fiction readers when reading is guided by a good classroom teacher.

I feel very uneasy when discussions on ‘difficulty’ begin and end with grade levels and lexile ratings.

See also: Federal Bureaucrats Declare ‘Hunger Games’ More Complex Than ‘The Grapes of Wrath’. I don’t see any problem with The Hunger Games being taught as a serious text, but this article does throw up the limitations of the lexile rating.

Lemon girl young adult novella