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Using Lexile Measures to Teach Chapter Books

Just as books vary in their text complexity, chapters within books vary as well. When teaching a book to a class, many educators use Lexile by Chapter Guides — which measure each chapter’s text separately — to help them better plan instruction.

 An Example: James and the Giant Peach

This chart shows an example of the book James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. The book has an overall Lexile text measure of 870L, but the text in each chapter ranges in difficulty from 400L to nearly 1600L.

By knowing which chapters are easier and more difficult in advance, educators can determine when they might need more instructional scaffolding and discussion. During the easier chapters, they can engage students in other important learning activities such as writing and verbalizing supporting ideas with textual evidence. Students themselves use the guides them to think about where in the text they may need to engage in close reading.

How were books chosen for the guides?

The books were originally selected based on research into the most commonly taught full-length works at various levels (Applebee, 1989; Shanahan and Duffett, 2013). We added additional titles in consultation with classroom teachers and school librarians from across the country. Because some titles are assigned in multiple grade levels, you might see the same book appear in more than one category.

Fiction & Novels

Popular Elementary School Titles Popular Middle School Titles Popular High School Titles
An Elephant in the Garden A Wrinkle in Time 1984
Because of Winn Dixie Dragonwings (grades 6-8) A Farewell to Arms
Bud, Not Buddy Esperanza Rising (grades 6-8) Animal Farm
Charlotte’s Web Freak the Mighty Brave New World
Dragonwings (grades 4-5) Hatchet (grades 6-8) Cry, the Beloved Country
Esperanza Rising (grades 4-5) Holes (grades 6-8) Fahrenheit 451
Hatchet (grades 4-5) Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (grades 6-8) Great Expectations
Holes (grades 4-5) Speak (grades 6-8) Lord of the Flies
Island of the Blue Dolphins Stargirl Night
James and the Giant Peach The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (grades 6-8) Of Mice and Men
Maniac Magee The Giver Speak (grades 9-10)
On the Banks of Plum Creek The House of Scorpion Tarzan of the Apes
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (grades 4-5) The House on Mango Street (grades 6-8) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (grades 9-10)
Sarah Plain and Tall The Outsiders (grades 6-8) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Shiloh The Pearl (grades 6-8) The Awakening
The Black Stallion The Watsons Go to Birmingham (grades 6-8) The Grapes of Wrath
The Cricket in Times Square To Kill a Mockingbird (grades 6-8) The Great Gatsby
The Sign of the Beaver Touching Spirit Bear (grades 6-8) The House on Mango Street (grades 9-10)
The Watsons Go to Birmingham (grades 4-5) The Hunger Games (coming soon!) The Outsiders (grades 9-10)
Tuck Everlasting The Pearl (grades 9-10)
George Washington’s Socks (coming soon!) The Scarlet Letter
When Zachary Beaver Came to Town (coming soon!) Things Fall Apart
To Kill a Mockingbird (grades 9-10)
Touching Spirit Bear (grades 9-10)

Informational Text & Literary Non-Fiction

We Want Your Feedback

The list of Lexile by Chapter Guides has grown over time based on feedback by you, and it’s still evolving. We want to make sure it meets your needs, so please take a few minutes to complete this short survey. To submit general questions about Lexile by Chapter Guides, please visit our support center.