Monday, April 28, 2008

How They Determine the Reading Level of A Book

The readability of a certain text has always been one of the first things that teachers and decision makers look at when choosing books to either fit their curriculum or add to their classroom library. Readability, often referred to as 'grade level,' can be given in a variety of ways. The most popular of these include:

  • Fountas & Pinnell (Guided Reading): Books are leveled from A-Z, with A being kindergarten up to, well, you get the idea.
  • Basal: Simply expressed as 'Grade 1,' 'Grade 2,' etc.
  • Lexile: The standard score used in the DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment). It's expressed from 100's up into the 1000's, and isn't the easiest to understand without a conversion chart.

I could go on here, because there's many more, but you can go to the Reading-Grade Level Comparison Chart .pdf document to see it all laid out for you. The readability of a text is determined by a lot of things in a lot of ways. Either a survey can be conducted, with normed tests, or a formula can be applied (the most common of these is the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Formula).

I came across a very interesting tool to check the readability of blogs, just in case you are utilizing them in the classroom. I am definitely all for the use of varying texts beyond books and *gulp* basals, and *double gulp* textbooks.

So check it out, it's the Blog Readability Test. Here's how this blog did:

blog readability test