Sunday, February 14, 2021

Lexile Reading Levels for Self and Small Publishers of Children’s Books

 Lexile Reading Levels for Self-published and Small Publishers of Children’s Books

Did you know children’s books should be “leveled” for reading classes? Yes, most teachers and libraries check the Lexile level of books before purchasing. Why is that? A Lexile level is an approximate reading level for a student, which may vary from the grade level.  You have probably seen statements such as, “This book is recommended for children ages 6-8.” Publishers find age information is by having the Lexile level (https://lexile.com/) determined to include this information in their book listings for authors on sites such as Amazon. It is easily found where the page numbers, IBNs, and so on are found on book sales pages. Self-published and smaller publishing houses may also take advantage of reading levels assessed by the Lexile Framework for Reading. Authors may have to add Lexile levels to Amazon and other online book descriptions themselves.

Lexile Reading Levels for Self and Small Publishers of Children’s Books

Lexile.com is a rather extensive site and so here is an explanation of the different site sections. A parent page, educator page, education companies & publishers, and the departments of education page can be found using the menu. Also, books may be looked up in the find a book area. Lexile level grade-level charts, an analyzer, growth planner, Lexile career database, Wordlists, and a Measures manager are included. Listening levels are a new feature on the site. Spanish book levels are also available on the site.

Many States Have Memberships for Their Residents

Because reading levels are critical to student understanding and success, many states have already joined the site. I live in Minnesota, and my membership is free. A teacher friend of mine lives in New York and also has a free membership. The annual cost is only about $18 if an author lives in a state without a membership. Even with a free membership, though, the site offers an extensive amount of information.

The reasons authors should be aware of this site while writing includes the following:

1.     An author may copy then paste up to 1000 words in the analyzer to determine the Lexile level. Full sentences should be entered before clicking the analyze button. A Lexile level range will be given, although not certified and is only an estimate. The overview column will list the longest sentence and recommended books at the same level. The indicators column will include decoding, vocabulary, and patterns. The vocabulary column will select up to ten words from the text that can help inform instruction. See this page for more information. (https://hub.lexile.com/analyzer)

2.     Leveled word lists may be downloaded from the site and used to inform authors as they write.

3.     If an author creates curriculum or teacher resources for his or her book, the teacher assistant area provides state standards. I can look up Minnesota state standards. I have written two math storybooks and created student work pages for them, so I check the math standards information.

4.     Lexile Tools for Find a Book allow searching by author, keyword, ISBN, grade level (easy, just right, and challenging), or by measure (a number) or a Lexile Range.

5.     When looking for comp titles to submit a manuscript, this site is also beneficial for finding such titles.

6.     Book level labels may be downloaded for books placed on “my shelf” and printed, if interested.

The Most Important Reasons to Consider Using Lexile Measures

However, an important reason for an author or small publisher to use this site is to get their books leveled. I did so and received levels for about $35 a book. For another $10, a vocabulary list is provided. At the beginning of each book sales page description, I added the Lexile Level number so teachers will see that first. Many teachers and librarians will look for Lexile levels first thing.

The second important reason for authors or small publishers to seek Lexile Levels is because the books are searchable online and in school and library catalogs. A member may make a bookshelf on the site and add books. I  put the books I authored on my bookshelf, although they may be searched by individual title. Links may be shared in blog posts, social media, and press releases.

I hope you found this information useful!

Thank you for reading, Carolyn Wilhelm

Author and Owner of The Wise Owl Factory

Carolyn Wilhelm is the curriculum writer and sole owner of 
The Wise Owl Factory site and blog. She has a BS in Elementary Education, an MS in Gifted Education, and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12. As a retired teacher of 28 years, she now makes mostly free educational resources for teachers and parents. Her course about Self-Publishing from the Very, Very Beginning is available on UDEMY. Her children’s books are available on Amazon and Barnes and Nobel sites.

5 comments:

Terry Whalin said...

Carolyn,

Thank you for this informative and insightful article about Lexile Reading Levels. I've worked in children's books for years and never heard of it. It sounds like a great way to get your book into the right reading level (a critical mistake many children's writers make).

Terry

WiseOwlFactory said...

Yes, Terry, it is as the title and level go in catalogs for librarians and teachers. Thank you!

deborah lyn said...

Thank you Carolyn for this helpful information. This is key information for parents as they endeavor to teach their children solely at home or additional to community schooling. Very insightful.

Karen Cioffi said...

Carolyn W, these are tips. I used Lextile Reading Levels when I was a staff writer for two online children's reading comprehension services. It's a great tool for children's writers. Thanks for sharing!

lastpg said...

I appreciate your article very much, Carolyn. I wasn't aware of the Lexile site or of how the reading levels work. Thank you for sharing this valuable information.

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