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How do you tell reading levels?


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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
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Posted Aug 14, 2001 at 6:49:13 PM
Subject: How do you tell reading levels?

I know there is some kind of formula to find out what reading level a book is but I can't remember it. I would like to keep track of the level that my child is at.
Thanks
Brenda

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 23, 2014
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Posted:Aug 15, 2001 5:50:58 AM

This is difficult. I bought a readability computer program a while back, and it used Fry, Dale-Chall, and another one that I can't recall. The levels of the same passage varied greatly between the three of them. Depending upon which scale you use, reading level can be based on syllable count, number of words per sentence, number of syllables per sentence, and number of unfamiliar words. One of the easiest ways to determine the reading level that I have found was to type the passage into Microsoft Word, go to Tools, and the Spelling and Grammar. Under that is listed the reading level of the passage!

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 23, 2014
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Posted:Aug 15, 2001 9:14:46 AM

Sandy,

wow, a neat thing to know, except you left out a few steps, the readability must be set in the Tools-Options menu, click on options under Tools, click on Spelling and Grammar tab and click on the Show Readability Statistics,

then type in your passage and perform spelling and grammar check, when done, the Readability Stats will appear, there are three different scales, click on help and type in Readability, here you will find the definition for each scale used for readability,

but a neat find Sandy, thanks bunches, Dave

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Anonymous
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Posted:Aug 15, 2001 8:46:42 PM

Try going to: http://school.discovery.com/schrockguide/fry/fry.html

This is the Fry Readability Graph. It's very useful....Rod

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 23, 2014
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Posted:Aug 16, 2001 2:28:19 PM

Hi,

I didn't have time to post more than the website last night, so here's a bit more on the Fry chart at that site.

You need to click on the graph link to get to the graph itself, once you get to the website.

You will notice that two variables determine the grade level assigned on the Fry Graph. These are number of sentences per 100 words (sentence length) and number of syllables per 100 words (word complexity.)

If an average of three samples falls pretty much in the middle of the segment for, say, 7th grade, then the book is of average word complexity and sentence length for a 7th grader.

However, as the sample moves down and to the left within the 7th grade sector, it means sentence length is increasing while word complexity is decreasing. These books require decent comprehension skills while reducing the load on decoding ability. A lot of Gary Paulsen's books, such as Hatchet, fall in this area of the graph.

As the sample moves up and to the right within the same 7th grade sector, it means sentence length is decreasing, but word complexity is increasing. These books will challenge decoding skills while putting a lesser load on comprehension skills due to the lack of complex sentence structure. That is, they grade high because of a lot of multisyllable words, rather than because of longer, more complex sentences. I'm not aware of any authors who lean in this direction, though there no doubt are some out there.

Anyway, I've found the Fry Readability Graph to be a useful way to determine an approximate grade level fairly quickly. After you do a few books, you can evaluate one in about five minutes, taking three samples. If you get wildly varying sample results, you should take more samples......Rod

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Anonymous
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Posted:Aug 17, 2001 4:27:48 PM

Rod's suggestion that you judge not just a single readability number score, but also vocabulary and sentence complexity, is right on.

Several of the readability systems in use weight sentence length far far too heavily. As a result, if you use these, you can use any vocabulary at all but as long as you keep your "sentences" averaging four words in length (a lot of silly and repetitive conversation), you will get a "reading level" in the 2 range.

A large number of the pulp fiction out there for young people, especially the "High interest low reading level" type, is written to this sort of formula. It is irritating to the student, who just doesn't have the vocabulary yet, and it is sickening to anyone with any literary sensitivity because you can see the machinery creaking instead of a book of real feeling.

For beginning readers in the Grade 1 range, I use the old Ladybird Key Words from England (recently reprinted by Penguin, hurray!) These use extremely restricted vocabuklary BUT introduce sentence complexity early -- at the 150-word vocabulary level, they are using complex sentences of more than ten words in length, and are down to regular twelve-point type. Kids find this easy!! As long as the vocabulary is in their control zone, they lap it up. This goes far better than short choppy sentences made of unknown words. Longer sentences early also make comprehension come naturally.

I find I do better hitting a useful reading level by concentrating on vocabulary level and giving the kid time to work things through.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 23, 2014
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Posted:Aug 17, 2001 6:56:37 PM

Those formulae really oversimplify things. I mean, they're a good thing to have because in general, a book at a 7.2 reading level is harder than a book at a 5.4 -- but not always! But absolutely, definitely, you can't tell a *kid's* reading level based on the ability to read a book with a certain number on the back. Background knowledge, vocabulary, and then all the other readability factors in the book that Victoria mentioned all come into play.

There was an article in a recent IDA quarterly about high-low books that's on my site (http://www.resourceroom.net) that's worth reading. It discusses reading levels and comprehension, too.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Sep 02, 2001 11:20:40 AM

To find appropriate reading levels we have purchased Accelerated Reader, which is an excellent program. They have leveled all the library books. You can purchase quizes on disks that can be put into your computer and all the management is done by the computer. No more book reports. Kids love it. Go to advlearn.com and you will see the program. Even if you don't purchase the program you can look up any title ane you will see the level of the book.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Sep 02, 2001 11:20:47 AM

To find appropriate reading levels we have purchased Accelerated Reader, which is an excellent program. They have leveled all the library books. You can purchase quizes on disks that can be put into your computer and all the management is done by the computer. No more book reports. Kids love it. Go to advlearn.com and you will see the program. Even if you don't purchase the program you can look up any title ane you will see the level of the book.

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