Learning and Teaching at Gilson College

Learning for living, Character for life, Hope for the Future

Balancing Reading Level systems like PM and Lexiles with Self-selection of books… ‘Guess My Lexile’ By Donalyn Miller

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While we must carefully consider the readability of texts when teaching children to read we must also challenge our students and provide for their reading interests. Our goal for teaching reading should be to provide as wide a variety of texts as possible within the bounds the school’s resources. If class and literacy budgets are tight, supplement the books available to your students by using the school’s and local libraries, have students raid ‘…grandmas’ bookshe[lves]..’, visit second-hand book stores; find appropriate texts wherever you can. Provide many opportunities for students to learn ‘…how to self-select books.’

Following are extracts from an interesting article ‘The Book Whisperer’:

Education Week, Teacher Blog: The Book Whisperer published on July 25, 2012

Overreliance on reading level systems hinders children from learning how to self-select books. Bookstores, libraries, and Grandma’s bookshelf aren’t leveled. Beyond students’ and books’ reading levels, we must consider content and interests when selecting materials and recommending books for independent reading. Slavish devotion to numbers doesn’t benefit readers…


‘While identifying readability can be useful when evaluating textbooks, guided reading texts, or other teaching materials, selecting books for classroom instruction and recommending books for independent reading are two different processes. Avid readers do not always read at the edge of their competence, traveling through increasingly more difficult texts as leveling systems proscribe (Carter, 2000). Given free choice, readers select reading material according to their interests, preferences, background knowledge, purposes for reading, and personal motivation…

[Donalyn Miller] found several informative videos and researched-based responses on MetaMetric’s website, which reinforce that Lexile measures do not tell us everything we need to know about texts or students. With Lexile measures touted as a key indicator of text complexity…we must critically consider what Lexile bands offer teachers and students, and what they don’t…’

Author: Sandra England

Learning & Teaching Coordinator F-12 at Gilson College, an Adventist Schools Victoria school. Twitter: @GCLandT or @sandy_e

One thought on “Balancing Reading Level systems like PM and Lexiles with Self-selection of books… ‘Guess My Lexile’ By Donalyn Miller

  1. Pingback: Quote by Donalyn Miller | Belletristic Book Babes

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