Leveled Content: Behind the Scenes

3 min read

| By Julie Mellors |

The creation of Gale In Context: For Educators brought with it many new features to aid in classroom instruction, and now the In Context student databases have a new classroom feature of their own with leveled content. Leveled content meets teacher needs in the classroom as well as meeting student needs at all reading levels.

I am a content developer for Gale In Context: Middle School and worked for almost a year on leveling reference content for core-curriculum topics studied in middle school. For that product, we identified 264 key portal topics and had new overviews written within a lower Lexile measure range. Now the existing and new overviews fall between two Lexile ranges to reach more students at their individual reading levels. In addition to Middle School, Gale In Context: High School and Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints also had new leveled content created. In total, more than 1,075 new leveled overviews were created for the launch of leveled content—all within targeted Lexile reading measures to help educators better target the right resources for every learner.

Why Lexile measures? Lexile measures are one of the most widely adopted reading measures in use today. In a nutshell, Lexile measures evaluate text difficulty and student reading ability, aiding teachers in providing appropriate texts for their students while tracking student reading growth. The higher the Lexile measure, the more difficult the reading level of the text. When measuring text complexity, factors like sentence length and word frequency are considered. We used the Lexile® Framework for Reading to analyze and measure our content.

Some of the biggest challenges we encountered with leveled content were getting the content to fall within the targeted Lexile measure ranges and having a large enough span between the two scores to differentiate instruction. In most cases, we aimed for a one hundred- to two hundred-point difference between the two scores. It was a lot of work but it was worth it—now we have a huge amount of new content for the In Context student databases and Gale In Context: For Educators ready to help meet the needs of students and teachers in the classroom daily. 

The chart below shows the approximate grade range and corresponding Lexile measures for In Context:

A new feature that we added to the In Context databases is the ability to allow users to select which Lexile range they want. This toggle feature is called Lexile Measure and is found near the top of the portal overview right under the Content Level.

Below are examples of In Context portal pages with leveled portal overviews:
Ancient Africa from Gale In Context: Middle School
Banned Books from Gale In Context: High School
Gun Control from Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints

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Meet the Author

Julie Mellors is a content developer at Gale. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan. Go Blue! She loves to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Some of her favorite things to do are swim, hike, read, and travel. She has been on many adventures with her husband and two children.

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