Education, Literature

What’s more complex, Steinbeck or Mr. Popper’s Penguins?

If your child’s fifth-grade teacher tells you she’s reading at a lexile of over 1000, you should be impressed. After all, that means you daughter is reading at an eighth-grade level, right?

Not quite. Lexile scores analyze sentence length and vocabulary to determine the complexity of a text. Lexile scores are a key factor in determining which book are appropriate for each grade level in the Common Core State Standards. Lexile scores, however, cannot measure the complexity of the ideas within a text, or for that matter, whether a book is age-appropriate in terms of content.

CCSS will measure your child’s ability to read based on lexile scores. Why should you be concerned? Because according to this type of analysis, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath is less complicated than The Hunger Games series or Mr. Popper’s Penguins. The Sun Also Rises is less complex than Charlotte’s Web (see chart below). The New Republic published a great piece on this, and it’s lexile level is one you’ll be able to comprehend.

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