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Teacher Reading Tips: Matching Texts and Readers

In this section, you can´┐Ż

  • Review the tenets of readability
  • Review the concept of reader/text matching
  • Consider ways to match readers to texts

    What is readability?

    Historically, readability was viewed as a set of characteristics within a text that related to levels of difficulty. These characteristics included:
    • concepts (amount and density)
    • vocabulary (including slang, idioms, foreign phrases)
    • sentence length and complexity
    • graphic support
    As the need grew to select appropriate text for students, readability formulas were developed. These formulas, however, rarely accounted for all of the above variables.

    The main readability formulas in use today (Fry, Dale-Chall, Spache) only include two variables - sentence length and syllable count. Although related to readability, they don't account for:
    • concepts (amount and density)
    • vocabulary (including slang, idioms, foreign phrases)
    • graphic support
    The formulas also exclude student variables, such as:
    • interest
    • prior knowledge of
      • vocabulary
      • text structures
      • content
    • decoding
    The narrow view of readability, as expressed in readability formulas, is that the readability of a text lies within the text rather than being a combination of reader and text factors.

    Review the concept of reader/text matching

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