Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Readability Made Easy

So there we were developing some Cold Read common assessments for our grade levels to use next year. We had gathered some great articles for the unit assessment. We were moving along, wrapping this first assessment up, and someone said it.

"What's the readability of that article?" 

In that moment, you could hear the brakes screeching as we attempted to avoid the disaster of throwing out three really great questions. All we could do was stare at each other for a few moments before one of us pulled the article into Lexile's website.

The answer was not a pretty one. 1090!!!! That's high school level reading! What?

This is fifth grade! This unit is for the beginning of the school year!

We loved the article and complimented the first article beautifully. A few teachers in our group scrambled to look for a more feasible resources, but Beth and I were determined to use THIS article.

"There's got to be something out there that will change the readability level of complex text."

Never to be defeated, she and I  googled "lowering readability levels".  There it was! An answer to our dilemma.

Rewordfiy has an ease to using it. I was impressed with just the little I have explored so far. There is so much more to this website that I can not wait to explore. From handouts for students to developing links to assist in developing a strong vocabulary.

For the purposes of this assessment, we grabbed the text and pulled into the text box. Hit the bright yellow "Rewordify text" button and discovered so much assistance for the task before us.

Rewordify highlights and changes the more complex vocabulary. It also provides information like grade level, a reading level, and the ability to manipulate the text with levels of complexity.

The tool also gives you various ways to look at the text. I have it set for the highlight feature. If I hover the cursor over the highlighted text, a box will pop up to display the original word. I moved around the different levels it see which text was the best to use and settled on a level 3 for the purposes of our job.

As I mentioned, there is so much more to explore on this site. I think it's worth more exploration when we begin to think about complex text and growing the vocabulary of your students. I know I just found a great resource for my students to utilize when encountering those difficult passage.

Take a look at their video and see for yourself.

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