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I Forgot What It’s Like to Be In School

So I don’t know if anyone noticed, but I’ve started adding a reading level category for all the books I can when I post a review. For some, and this is especially true if the book is new, I cannot find a rating on either site I use. When that happens, I’ll most likely post the reading level of a similar book by the same author. If none of the author’s books have a marked reading level, then I will leave the category blank.

So here comes the main point of this post: Why am I doing this? When I first showed my blog to some people, the first question one of the viewers asked was, “What is the lexile measure of _______?”
I kind of gave her a blank look and half a shrug. I dunno. What the heck is a lexile measure? I’m not a teacher. I’m not a parent. I’m a librarian, which is a profession that was born out of a life-long love of reading. I haven’t had to worry about things like “reading levels,” “common core,” or “AR tests” for over ten years.

After I received this comment, I decided to look up measurements of reading on my own, and found the websites for Lexile Measurements and Accelerated Reader BookFinder, two official sites that provide reading measurements for popular books. Like i said, it does take a while for new measurements to be added to the databases, so ratings for new books are a bit difficult to find. If you have a better resource, please let me know! Otherwise, those two linked sites will be the ones from which I take my scores.

That being said, I want to make almost a disclaimer and say that even though I’m including this information in order to give reluctant readers, parents, and teacher more detail on a novel, does not mean that I particularly endorse any type of reading measurement, nor do I endorse the specific measurement of a book. For example, when I looked up the reading measurement for Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood, the AR site said the reading level was for 6th to 7th graders. While that may be a reflection of the linguistic difficulty, I don’t think that score accounts for maturity of content. In other words, please, please don’t let your middle schooler read Lady Oracle.

However, I also believe that readers, and especially young readers, should not be confined to what “reading level” is most appropriate. If they want to read something younger, go for it. If they want to read something more complicated, go for it. Still, I know simply getting some kids to read at all is an accomplishment, and reading for AR is the only way they’ll pick up a book.

In short, I’m going to continue including reading level information in posts, not because I agree with the classification, but because I want to help people find this information if it will be useful for them. If you have other ideas on what to include, or if you’d like me to use a different measurement, please let me know!

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