Books, Musings, Rants

What really matters when reading

I’ve written before about why there’s a problem with reading levels and lexiles.  We all know, sadly, that they’re still a thing, despite authors and librarians pleas:

I’ve read so many books that are published with a recommended age, or grade, and I know that those are more a marketing thing from publishers and essentially meaningless.  Some 12-year-olds are ready for much higher material and some 14-year-olds aren’t, but the publisher needs to recommend some general age so that bookstores and AR quizzes and librarians know how to deal with each book.

Many years ago I helped create some curriculum units and one of the requirements was the the readings be at (or above) certain Lexile levels.  There are websites you can use to tell you which level a book is, but as we all know, sometimes simple books contain very deep thoughts.  In one case, the group needing these units asked for us to change readings because they were too simple (yet the “appropriate” age group would not necessarily understand the context or content) and in another, they wanted to change a reading because the students wouldn’t understand the context (yet that reading appeared in 7 of 12 previous year’s state tests in another subject on a different topic).

My point is, I get the marketing aspect.  I understand parents wanting guidance.  I don’t understand why the level or grade or age is taken as having the weight that we might give to Holy Writ.

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