Step 2: Prepare your text for measurement

In preparing a text for Lexile measurement, your two basic objectives are to:

  • keep all complete sentences
  • remove all non-prose content (see table below)

The Lexile Analyzer needs to recognize sentence endings, so sentences must be conventionally punctuated and complete. Likewise, the Analyzer needs to recognize correctly spelled, well-formed words. Otherwise you won't get a useful measure.

Here are some general guidelines for removing non-prose from your text:

You should measure: You should not measure:
  • Paragraphs of standard prose
  • Captions that are complete sentences
  • Bulleted/numbered lists in which the list items are complete sentences
  • Dialogue; sentences within quotation marks
  • Numbers and dates
  • Acronyms
  • Foreign words
  • Names
  • Parenthetical phrases or clauses within sentences
  • Incomplete sentences
  • Sentences with unconventional punctuation
  • Page headers and footers, page numbers
  • Chapter and section titles
  • Captions that are incomplete sentences
  • Headings and sub-headings
  • Bulleted/numbered lists in which the list items are incomplete sentences
  • The leading name and colon conventionally used in interview notation
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Poetry/song extracts
  • URLs
  • Tables and graphs
  • Abbreviations
  • Phonetic pronunciation guides
  • Parentheses which contain complete sentences
  • Frontmatter (forewords, prologues, prefaces, tables of contents)
  • Backmatter (afterwords, epilogues, glossaries, indexes, bibliographies)

Historical notes, introductions, "About the author" pieces, and previews of the next book in a series should typically be removed. Such text is often written separately from the main text. However, some frontmatter and backmatter may be a legitimate part of the larger text and should be included. As a general guideline, if text appears to be written by the same author for the same audience, then it should be included for Lexile analysis.

You can either delete sections of text that should not be analyzed, or you can enclose them in double brackets ('[[' and ']]') to prevent them from being analyzed. Be careful in using double brackets, as improper use can prevent the analyzer from returning a Lexile measure.

>> Go on to Step 3: Type or scan your text

<< Go back to Step 1: What kinds of texts can be measured