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How were the variables that most accurately and reliably measure text complexity in K–2 content identified?

Last Updated: May 26, 2017 01:25PM EDT
We conducted a series of studies to identify the characteristics that most influence the text complexity of early-reading materials. First, a corpus of texts was constructed to represent the wide range of K–2 texts including decodable texts, leveled readers and trade and picture books. Next, as in previous Lexile research, data was collected of children reading the texts and from teachers’ judgments to assess the relative difficulty of the texts. In particular, two studies were conducted. One study determined text complexity based on student performance,  and the other study determined text complexity based on educator judgments. Finally, analyses was performed to identify the text characteristics that are important for measuring early-reading texts, such as the decodability of the words and the degree of patterning and repetition present in the text.

To learn more about the research, see:

 
Important text characteristics for early-grades text complexity (2014)
Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(1), 4–29.


Examining text complexity in the early grades (2016)
Phi Delta Kappan, 97 (8), 60–65.


Text complexity: Primary teachers’ views (2015)
Literacy Research and Instruction, 54(1), 19–44.


Has First‐Grade Core Reading Program Text Complexity Changed Across Six Decades? (2015)
Reading Research Quarterly, 51(1), 7–28.

To see summaries of these articles, visit the Summary of Research Findings section.
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