Aya Academy of Excellence

Building a Lexile Library

Aya Academy of Excellence's Lit Lounge


We we just discovered a new app while visiting our local used book reseller.  After meandering through their aisles stockpiled with books across a smattering of genres, I encountered a wall with sections designated for elementary school children.  After staring with some amazement at their shelves categorized  by grade level, I sauntered to the front desk to chat with the Suwanee, GA shopkeeper of Read It Again.  The process behind how they classify their juvenile titles is part science and part math.  Based on teacher requests and buying patterns, they categorize the titles that are purchased from their customers.  However, she noted that a few teachers were now using apps to help sort through that process within schools.  Happy, happy, joy, joy!!  Within an hour I scoured through Apples App Store and downloaded the FREE app Reading Leveler to test out how we could sort our own selections.








We currently carry just over two hundred titles in our Lit Lounge lending library.  This space within our facility is a quiet space refuge for our youth when they have Individualized time to explore reading, technology and art.  Understanding that some youth do not have books at home nor have the opportunity to make treks to their local libraries, the Lit Lounge is an essential resource for inspiring kids to engage in literacy.  Since we cater to both boys and girls, our genres range from dystopian sic-fi to teen queen drama.  Some authors are popular across genders, especially those which have been interpreted as cinematic stories on TV and in the movie theater.  

It it took approximately two hours to identify the Lexile level of each book.  The barcode feature enabled us to use our smartphone to scan each books ISBN.  If the app did not recognize the title, then we ventured over to http://www.lexile.com to search the title directly.  In some cases titles were not leveled, as was the case of WAlter Dean Myers’ All the Right Stuff.  In those cases, we have opted to store these separately to instead later use the app’s function that will allow text to be inserted and leveled directly.  This seems a bit more labor intensive and we project that we may earmark sometime next month to do so. 

Aya Academy of Excellence - 1000+ Lexile Collection

The advantage of Lexile leveling over Dewey Decimal classification is the ease students can have finding materials that will stretch their abilities to read more complex text.  By mixing genres and type (fiction and non fiction) together, we predict that students will be more readily exposed to a wider variety of topics and interests.  It should also help us in identifying new titles to add.  We found that of the few hundred books we have available for our kids, most were in the 600-700 range.  We currently carry precious few titles above 1000.  And of these few titles, almost all have a male protagonist.  Hopefully, this new system will give us gain some insight into what we have available for our kids to peruse. 

One caveat: although the Lexile metric is gaining wide appeal, I believe there are some quirks when identifying text complexity.  Based on the system, books from the Flat Stanley series are more complex reads than the Newberry book Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff, Gennifer Choldenko’s Al Capone Does My Shirts and Laurie Halse Anderson’s Fever 1793.  The metric is not a perfect gauge and discretion should be used. 





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