Finding different texts with the same topic and level of difficulty
We know that students become frustrated when they are trying to read a text that is too difficult for them. During a whole class reading, when teachers are using the same text for all students, barriers to making meaning can be broken down prior to reading. This ensures that all students are able to read the text.
It is always a good idea to build in rereading activities to ensure that some of the weaker readers gain the key information by reading the text several times.
Sometimes teachers may want students to read around a topic and to do this we need to provide students with similar information at different levels of difficulty.
Some websites that I have been shown that do this are:
- https://www.heraldsun.com.au/kids-news (text to speech function)
- https://www.readworks.org (text to speech function)
Many teachers discourage students from using Wikipedia because it is questionable as a credible source. However, the main issue with Wikipedia is text difficulty rather than credibility. Simple English Wikipedia (http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page) provides simpler information and shorter, less dense texts. Look at this example below that demonstrates this.
SIMPLE ENGLISH WIKIPEDIA EARTHQUAKES
An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time.
Earthquakes are measured using observations from seismometers. The moment magnitude is the most common scale on which earthquakes larger than approximately 5 are reported for the entire globe. The more numerous earthquakes smaller than magnitude 5 reported by national seismological observatories are measured mostly on the local magnitude scale, also referred to as the Richter magnitude scale.
Earthquakes, (also known as quakes or tremors) are violent movements of the rocks in the Earth's crust.
Earthquakes are usually quite brief but may repeat over a period of time. They are the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust. This creates seismic waves, which are waves of energy that travel through the Earth. The study of earthquakes is called seismology. Seismology studies the frequency, type and size of earthquakes over a period of time.
There are large earthquakes and small earthquakes. Large earthquakes can take down buildings and cause death and injury. Earthquakes are measured using observations from seismometers.
Flesch-Kincaid grade Level: 13.1
Flesch Reading Ease: 39.2
Passive Sentences: 40%
Words per Sentence: 21.6
Flesch-Kincaid grade Level: 9.4
Flesch Reading Ease: 54.7
Passive Sentences: 21%
Words per Sentence: 15.2
This is the second of a series of posts focused on effective reading in the high school classroom. This series includes practical tips teachers can add to their lesson plans.
Read the first post: Using the Flesch Kincaid Readability Index