-- MEASURING THE READING LEVEL OF TEXTS
USED IN ELI CLASSES

Ellen Kohn & Laurie Miller
George Mason University ELI Learning Lunch February 12, 2008

Overview  What is Readability?  Why should ELI instructors measure it?  The Fry Readability Graph  How Can the Graph be Used to Measure ELI Texts?  Example  Try It  Our sample text  Your sample text  Use it .

Readability  Definition  “The factors that make some texts easier to read than others” (Dubay. 2004). . The success is the extent to which they understand it. read it at an optimal speed.  “The sum total of those elements within a given piece of printed material that affect the success a group of readers have with it. 1949). and find it interesting” (Dale & Chall.

Readability  Why ELI instructors should measure it  Attemptto make a progressive curriculum with measureable student outcomes at each level  Writing = ibT TOEFL Writing Scale. we have target scores for each ELI level  Reading = we should use a measure of readability  To choose level appropriate texts for ELI classes  To measure student progress / proficiency at different ELI levels .

Fry would go on to become the director of the Reading Center of Rutgers University and an authority on how people learn to read. he created this popular readability test that uses a graph. .The Fry Readability Graph  How it came into being  While Edward Fry was working as a Fullbright scholar in Uganda trying to help teachers teach English as a second language.

 Find y (vertical).  The zone where the two coordinates meet shows the grade score. . the average number of syllables per 100-word sample.The Fry Readability Graph  How to Use the Graph  Select samples of 100 words.  Find x (horizontal). the average number of sentences per 100-word passage (calculating to the nearest tenth).

or an article. grade level scores are Plot the average number of invalid. Few books will fall into word passages from a book the solid black area. but when they do. syllables and the average number of sentences per 100 words on the graph to determine the grade level of the material. Choose more passages per book if great variability is observed and conclude that the book has uneven readability.The Fry Readability Graph  Other Advice 1 Randomly select three 100. .

If you number of syllables. every syllable over one plotted will give you in each word. of the fraction of the last marks and add 100. putting more sample sentence to the nearest counts into the 1/10th. average is desirable. then. an two lines intersect. counter available. sentence length and count exactly 100 words word passage. easy way is to simply Don't count numbers. If a sentences in the hundred end of the passage. the approximate Count the number of when you get to the grade level.The Fry Readability Graph  Other Advice 2 Randomly select three Count the total number Graph the average sample passages and of syllables in the 100. Do put a mark above Area where dot is count proper nouns. beginning with the don't have a hand plot dot where the beginning of a sentence. . great deal of words. estimating length count the number of variability is found.

word.Using the Fry Readability Graph  Example 1 – Laurie’s World Bank Article  Use online syllable.jsp to get  Sentences per 100 words  Syllables per 100 words  Plot numbers on Fry Graph .online-utility. sentence analysis tool @ http://www.org/english/readability_test_and_improve.

Using the Fry Readability Graph 100 words from the sample text: .

Using the Fry Readability Graph Results from “Online Text Readability” website: .

Using the Fry Readability Graph Results from “Online Text Readability” plotted on the Fry Graph: 5 sentences Fry Level 12 163 syllables .

Try It  Sample Text  Text You Brought .

Use It  Measure at least 3 texts used in class  Check ELI Curriculum Guidelines  tosee if the texts you are using are the recommended Fry reading level for your class – find texts @ your level  Conduct an assessment of student reading of these texts  tosee if students are able to read @ the target level for your class  Retain records  Curriculum modification/validation .

The Future  Keep trying!  We are trying to develop a curriculum that promotes advancing student skills with measureable outcomes & we need instructor help to validate the current reading outcomes @ each level  Software  .