Part I: Lexiles are Leveling 

During a professional learning session, I had an epiphany regarding how society views certain professions. In the past, when we explore different careers and the Lexiles (reading levels) required, there would be in shock in the room once a participant discovered the required Lexile for an auto mechanic versus a school principal. The voice of Geoffrey Owens and his interview on work shaming became even more glaring for me. 

While on Good Morning America, he said this “a reevaluation of the idea that some jobs are better than others because that’s actually not true. There’s no job that’s better than another job- it might pay better, it might have better benefits, it may look better on a resume and on paper, but actually, it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable.” 

When you look at careers based on Lexile Levels, the statement by Geoffrey Owens is grounded in research related to reading levels. Before we go into the Lexile requirements for specific careers, let’s first breakdown the meaning of Lexiles and the benefits for students. 

What are Lexiles?

Lexiles provide quantitative information about a students’ reading ability and text. Lexiles are on a scale from 0L for early readers to over 2000L for advanced readers (MetaMetrics, 2019). Also, Lexiles don’t directly correspond with a grade level. Educators and parents should look for what MetaMetrics calls the “sweet spot” which is 100L below and 50L above a child’s Lexile level (MetaMetrics, 2019).  

Students receive a Lexile reader measure as a score from a reading test – it describes his or her reading ability. Books and other texts receive a Lexile text measure from a software tool called the Lexile Analyzer – it describes the book’s reading demand or difficulty (The Lexile® Framework for Reading, 2012). 

Why are Lexiles beneficial for students?

  • Removes nebulousness for students and families as accurate Lexile scores can be utilized to empower them on their literacy journey.
  • Reader and text are matched on the same scale. To date, no other measurement places the learner and text on an equal-interval scale. Use this Find a Book tool to match a learner’s Lexile and interests. 
  • Content can be differentiated to meet the various reading levels in a classroom. 
  • Developing strong and fluent readers means that reading must occur at their appropriate reading level, even if those levels don’t coincide with a grade level. 

Stay tuned for Part II of this blog where we delve into the aspects of careers. 

Learn more about Lexiles here


Mesmer, H. A. (2008). Tools for Matching Readers to Texts. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.