Showing posts with label reading levels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reading levels. Show all posts

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Rewordify Helps Students Read Complex Passages

Rewordify is a free site that was developed by a special education teacher and former computer programmer for the purpose of helping students read complex passages. At its most basic level Rewordify takes a complex passage and rephrases it in simpler terms. Students can adjust Rewordify's settings to match their needs. For example, students can add words to a "skip list" and those words will not be changed when they appear in a passage. Students can also use Rewordify to simply highlight difficult words instead of having them replaced. Watch the video below for a complete overview of how Rewordify works.

Applications for Education
Rewordify could be helpful to students when they are challenged to read a book or article that is a step or two above their current reading levels. After trying to read through a tricky passage students can use Rewordify to help the check their comprehension of that passage.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Combine These Strategies To Help Students Find Appropriate Reading Materials

On Google's advanced search page there is a tool for refining searches according to reading level. This tool on its own can be very helpful in helping students locate materials that are appropriate for their reading abilities. It can also be helpful to combine use of the reading level refinement tool with a domain level refinement. For example, if my students are studying the American Civil War they might search for materials hosted on a "" domain and refine that search according to reading level. See the screenshots below for examples.

Click to view full size.

Click to view full size.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Book Lamp - A Book Recommendation Engine

Book Lamp is a new service that aims to help readers find new books that they might enjoy. Once you've registered on Book Lamp you can enter the title of a book you like or the name of an author you like to find a new set books you might also like. Book Lamp rates books by pacing, density, action, description, and dialog. Based on those characteristics Book Lamp suggests books you like might like. You can learn more about Book Lamp's rating system by watching the video on their homepage (warning, the video is kind of boring). Book Lamp also offers a book discussion forum which seems to have a fairly active community.
Applications for Education
Book Lamp could be a good service for reading and literature teachers to use to locate books that are interesting and appropriate for their students' age and reading abilities.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Twurdy - A Web Search With a Readability Index

Last week I shared with you directions for refining Google search results by readability. I learned that little trick in Google Certified Teachers group where I also learned about Twurdy. Twurdy is search tool that automatically displays the readability of your search results for you. Twurdy uses a simple color-coded system to indicate how easy or difficult it is to read a particular website in your search results. There are three types of Twurdy searches; Just Twurdy, Simple Twurdy, and Twurdy with Pop. Here's how Twurdy defines the three search types:

Just Twurdy - searches using Twurdy's basic algorithm with medium speed and medium results.

Simple Twurdy - searches using Twurdy's simple algorithm for fast speed but less accurate results

Twurdy with Pop - searches using Twurdy's most complex algorithm which includes looking up the popularity of words within the text. It has a slower speed with more accurate results

Applications for Education
Twurdy could be a useful resource for teachers trying to find reference materials appropriately matched to their students' reading abilities. It could also be used by students to help the refine searches to match their abilities.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sort Google Search Results by Reading Level

Through the great folks in the Google Certified Teachers community I've learned that you can now sort your search results by readability. The readability index is a bit coarse, but it is helpful none-the-less. The index use a simple ranking of "basic," "intermediate," and "advanced." In order to sort by readability you have to open the advanced search tools then select "reading level" from the drop-down menus. See my screen captures below.

Click to enlarge.

Click to Enlarge

Applications for Education
Refining search results by readability could be helpful when you're looking for online reference materials to match your students' abilities. Likewise, this could be a good feature to show to students so that they can find materials appropriately matched to their reading abilities.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Find Great Children's Literature

The Database of Award-Winning Children's Literature is a searchable database of more than 7,000 award-winning books for children. DAWCL was developed and is maintained by reference librarian Lisa Bartle. There are many ways to search the database to locate books which will appeal to your students and will meet your instructional needs. In addition to the typical search options of keyword, author, and title you will find search options like the age of the reader, historical period, genre, setting, and gender of protagonist.

Applications for Education
DAWCL could be a great resource for elementary school teachers that need to compile lists of books that will appeal to a wide range of students. After locating titles you might want to put them into a "bookshelf" in Google Books where parents and other teachers can browse through them.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Google Books Adds Shelving Options

Google recently announced two new enhancement to Google Books. You can now browse through many of the Google Books categories using a horizontally scrolling interface. This same horizontally scrolling interface is also applied to the collections of books that you build within your Google Books account. Now you can create your own public and private "bookshelves" in your Google Books account. Users of Shelfari will probably note some similarities in the two interfaces.

Building your virtual bookshelves in Google Books is a simple process that I've outlined below.

Step 1: After logging into your Google Books account click create new shelf.

Step 2: Name your new shelf and select private or public view. Public view shelves can be seen by anyone. You can have a mix of private and public shelves within your library.

Step 3: Locate a book and select "add to bookshelves."

Step 4: Select the shelf you wish to add a book to.

Applications for Education
Creating public bookshelves could be a great way for teachers to organize collections of book titles to share with students and parents. For example if I taught reading I might organize a shelf of books that appeals to young male readers and a shelf that appeals to young female readers. I might also organize shelves by reading levels. Then when students need to search for a book they will have a good place to start their searches.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Outside Magazine's Ten Greatest Adventure Biographies

The reading and English teachers that I work with often mention how difficult it can be to get some male students interested in reading independently. So when I saw Outside Magazine's list of The 10 Greatest Adventure Biographies, I knew that I had to forward it on to them. I've read two of the books on the list, those about Tenzingand Mallory and can attest to their outstanding quality. If you have reluctant readers who are interested in outdoor adventure stories, this list might have some titles that will engage those students.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Reading Levels in Google Docs

This afternoon while working on an article that I'm writing for a print journal, I discovered a handy little feature in the Google Docs tools menu. If you select the word count option in the Google Docs tools menu you will find three indicators of the reading level of the document you're creating. Google Docs will calculate for you the Flesch Reading Ease, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, and the Automatic Readability Index.

Applications for Education
The Google Docs reading level indicators could be useful if you're sending letters to homes of students where English is not the primary language. The reading level indicators could help you formulate your letter so that it can be read by all parents.