The Children and Young People’s Books Lexicon (CYP-LEX): A large-scale lexical database of books read by children and young people in the United Kingdom

Maria Korochkina, Marco Marelli, Marc Brysbaert, Kathy Rastle

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This article introduces CYP-LEX, a large-scale lexical database derived from books popular with children and young people in the United Kingdom. CYP-LEX includes 1,200 books evenly distributed across three age bands (7–9, 10–12, 13+) and comprises over 70 million tokens and over 105,000 types. For each word in each age band, we provide its raw and Zipf-transformed frequencies, all parts-of-speech in which it occurs with raw frequency and lemma for each occurrence, and measures of count-based contextual diversity. Together and individually, the three CYP-LEX age bands contain substantially more words than any other publicly available database of books for primary and secondary school children. Most of these words are very low in frequency, and a substantial proportion of the words in each age band do not occur on British television. Although the three age bands share some very frequent words, they differ substantially regarding words that occur less frequently, and this pattern also holds at the level of individual books. Initial analyses of CYP-LEX illustrate why independent reading constitutes a challenge for children and young people, and they also underscore the importance of reading widely for the development of reading expertise. Overall, CYP-LEX provides unprecedented information into the nature of vocabulary in books that British children aged 7+ read, and is a highly valuable resource for those studying reading and language development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Early online date23 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jan 2024


  • lexical database
  • children's books
  • reading
  • lexical statistics
  • word frequency

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