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"Twilight" More Difficult Than Hemingway, According To Teacher's Guide

QUIZ: which of these books is considered more "complex" according to Lexile guidelines?

Can you guess which of these books are more 'difficult' according to Common Core (a teaching initiative adopted by 45 states)?

  1. 1. Which of these books has a higher Lexile complexity score?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Nicholas Sparks: 880L. Morrison: 870L. Both are of "fifth grade" difficulty.

  2. 2. Which of these books has a higher Lexile complexity score?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Brown: 850L (5th grade). Hemingway: 610L (3rd grade).

  3. 3. Which of these books has a higher Lexile complexity score?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Sorry, Anne. A picture book of horses is a full 170L more 'complex' and than you. I'm not even kidding.

  4. 4. Which of these books has a higher Lexile complexity score?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Hunger Games: 810. Cat's Cradle: 790. Both are of 5th grade difficulty.

  5. 5. Which of these books has a higher Lexile complexity score?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    A illustrated book about the "Twilight" movies is 1240L while "Lot 49" is 1060L. Sorry Pynchon, you're BASIC. Oh, and "Twilight" itself is 720L, which is more 'difficult' than any Hemingway.

  6. 6. Which of these books has a higher Lexile complexity score?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Finally, a sane answer. But Lexile puts both of these books as more difficult than any other book we've surveyed so far. Guiness is ranked at 1380L for complexity (college senior difficulty).

  7. 7. Which of these books has a higher Lexile complexity score?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Hawthorne: 1400L. Foucault: 1350L.

Arguing that teachers aren't assigning grade-appropriate reading, Common Core recommends that students get matched up with books with the right "Lexile" score. The thing is, Lexiles measure a book's complexity by a painfully literal algorithm of sentence length, word choice, and syntax.

To be fair, it's only meant to be a rough guideline rather than some iron-clad dictum or curriculum. And any teacher knows that a work can have a low Lexile difficulty while being thematically unsuitable for younger readers. But still.

newrepublic.com

The New Republic created a handy graph of some of these Lexiles, in case you want further proof of its absurdity.

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