My inquiry project focuses not just on the lexile system, but on whether or not it is effective at my particular school and with my particular students. So it made sense to start my search close to home--with trying to understand why the lexile system was initially chosen for use at my school.
In talking to my colleagues, I quickly learned that no one seemed to be quite sure how long we had been using the lexile system or who had initiated its use. The librarian before me was a huge supporter of the lexile system, but she was an aide and was not the one who initiated its use. Our principal was hired three years ago, and its use at our school definitely outdates her.
Just from my quick initial questions, I gathered that teacher feelings on the lexile system covered a wide range. Some seem extremely dedicated to it; these teachers require their student to check out both selections within their lexile range during their weekly library visits. Others place very little stock in the measurements, and instead allow their students to check out solely based on preference. Most say that they "have to" use it, and therefore require one checkout per student within the range each week.
Only a few teachers seem to have thought independently about lexile. One fifth grade teacher explained that she feels that lexile is "a useful guide, but not the be-all and end-all of student reading. Students will always do better with high-interest texts than something they select based on number alone." This coincides perfectly with my own thoughts on the matter. I'm honestly surprised that more teachers haven't thought more about their use of lexile, especially since no one seems to be sure of the school's background or reasons for using the system.