Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Biblical Lexiles

Should we consider incoporating lexiles when teaching segments of Chumash?
     After reading about a Lexile, an educational tool that aligns readers of all ages with books and other leveled reading materials (see the following http://www.lexile.com/about-lexile/grade-equivalent/grade-equivalen... ) it seems the Torah acknowledges at least one of the two components which comprise a lexile measure, if not both. As you know, lexiles are based on word frequency and sentence length. See http://lexile.com/m/uploads/downloadablepdfs/WhatDoestheLexileMeasu...  which reads “... A lexile measure is based on two strong predictors of how difficult a text is to comprehend: word frequency and sentence length.”
     Which texts do elementary age as well as beginner students use when learning to read Chumash/Bible for the first time? Virtually all Jewish day schools of all variety begin with the very first book of the Bible- Beraisheet/Genesis. Now consider the following- According to a breakdown of verses in the first book of the Torah, 231 words, which are all found by the end of the 5th parsha or first 25 chapters in Beraisheet, comprise 64% of all the words in Chumash. (An additional 313 words comprise another 16%. This means that only 544 words comprise 80% of all the words in Chumash.)
     I understand that the “word frequency” aspect is only one of the two criteria which comprise a lexile. That being said I do find it intriguing that Judaic learning acknowledges the aspect of word frequency as an aid to young students and beginners in Chumash.

      Although I have not researched the sentence length of verses in the Torah I would be curious to see if any elementary age educators or administrators know of educational findings correlating the sentence lengths of the first chapters of the Torah to beginner learners in Chumash.
     As an aside, I went to http://lexile.com/search/filters/results/ to see what the lexile was for the Old Testament/Bible. It didn’t say.
So again- Should we consider incoporating lexiles when teaching Torah? Has the Torah already incorporated lexiles for us?

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