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THE Fry Readability GRAPH -- Measuring the reading level of texts used in ELI Classes. Ellen Kohn & Laurie Miller George Mason University ELI Learning Lunch February 12, 2008. Overview. What is Readability? Why should ELI instructors measure it? The Fry Readability Graph

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THE Fry Readability GRAPH -- Measuring the reading level of texts used in ELI Classes

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The fry readability graph measuring the reading level of texts used in eli classes l.jpg

THE Fry Readability GRAPH-- Measuring the reading level of texts used in ELI Classes

Ellen Kohn & Laurie Miller

George Mason University ELI Learning Lunch February 12, 2008


Overview l.jpg

Overview

  • What is Readability?

    • Why should ELI instructors measure it?

  • The Fry Readability Graph

  • How Can the Graph be Used to Measure ELI Texts?

    • Example

  • Try It

    • Our sample text

    • Your sample text

  • Use it


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Readability

  • Definition

    • “The factors that make some texts easier to read than others” (Dubay, 2004).

    • “The sum total of those elements within a given piece of printed material that affect the success a group of readers have with it. The success is the extent to which they understand it, read it at an optimal speed, and find it interesting” (Dale & Chall, 1949).


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Readability

  • Why ELI instructors should measure it

    • Attempt to make a progressive curriculum with measureable student outcomes at each level

      • Writing = ibT TOEFL Writing Scale; we have target scores for each ELI level

      • Reading = we should use a measure of readability

        • To choose level appropriate texts for ELI classes

        • To measure student progress / proficiency at different ELI levels


The fry readability graph l.jpg

The Fry Readability Graph

  • How it came into being

    • While Edward Fry was working as a Fullbright scholar in Uganda trying to help teachers teach English as a second language, he created this popular readability test that uses a graph. Fry would go on to become the director of the Reading Center of Rutgers University and an authority on how people learn to read.


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The Fry Readability Graph

  • How to Use the Graph

    • Select samples of 100 words.

    • Find y (vertical), the average number of sentences per 100-word passage (calculating to the nearest tenth).

    • Find x (horizontal), the average number of syllables per 100-word sample.

    • The zone where the two coordinates meet shows the grade score.


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The Fry Readability Graph


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The Fry Readability Graph

  • Other Advice 1

Few books will fall into the solid black area, but when they do, grade level scores are invalid.

Randomly select three 100-word passages from a book or an article.

Plot the average number of syllables and the average number of sentences per 100 words on the graph to determine the grade level of the material.

Choose more passages per book if great variability is observed and conclude that the book has uneven readability.


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The Fry Readability Graph

  • Other Advice 2

Randomly select three sample passages and count exactly 100 words beginning with the beginning of a sentence.

Don't count numbers. Do count proper nouns.

Count the number of sentences in the hundred words, estimating length of the fraction of the last sentence to the nearest 1/10th.

Graph the average sentence length and number of syllables; plot dot where the two lines intersect. Area where dot is plotted will give you the approximate grade level. If a great deal of variability is found, putting more sample counts into the average is desirable.

Count the total number of syllables in the 100-word passage. If you don't have a hand counter available, an easy way is to simply put a mark above every syllable over one in each word, then, when you get to the end of the passage, count the number of marks and add 100.


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Using the Fry Readability Graph

  • Example 1 – Laurie’s World Bank Article

    • Use online syllable, word, sentence analysis tool @ http://www.online-utility.org/english/readability_test_and_improve.jspto get

      • Sentences per 100 words

      • Syllables per 100 words

  • Plot numbers on Fry Graph


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Using the Fry Readability Graph

100 words from the sample text:


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Using the Fry Readability Graph

Results from “Online Text Readability” website:


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Using the Fry Readability Graph

Results from “Online Text Readability” plotted on the Fry Graph:

5 sentences

Fry Level 12

163 syllables


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Try It

  • Sample Text

  • Text You Brought


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Use It

  • Measure at least 3 texts used in class

    • Check ELI Curriculum Guidelines

      • to see if the texts you are using are the recommended Fry reading level for your class – find texts @ your level

    • Conduct an assessment of student reading of these texts

      • to see if students are able to read @ the target level for your class

    • Retain records

      • Curriculum modification/validation


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The Future

  • Keep trying!

    • We are trying to develop a curriculum that promotes advancing student skills with measureable outcomes & we need instructor help to validate the current reading outcomes @ each level

  • Software


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References / Resources

Adamovic, Mladen. (2006). Online Text Readability. Available @ http://www.online-utility.org/english/readability_test_and_improve.jsp

Deal, Justen. (2006, January 3). Reproducible Fry Graphs. Available @ http://justendeal.com/blog/2006/01/03/reproducible-fry-graphs/

DuBay, William. (2004). The Principles of Readability. Available @ http://www.impact-information.com/impactinfo/readability02.pdf

Johnson, Keith. (1998). Readability: Measuring the Reading Age of Books and Other Reading Matter. Available @ http://www.timetabler.com/reading.html

Long, Martyn . (2000). The Fry Readability Program (online). Available @ http://www.educational-psychologist.co.uk/fry_readability_program.htm


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References / Resources

Schrock, Kathleen. (2008). Teacher Helpers: Fry Readability Graph: Directions for Use. Available @ http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schrockguide/fry/fry.html

Taylor, Dave. (2007). Readability Scores for Web pages and Microsoft Word documents in a flash! Available @ http://www.readability.info/


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THE END

Ellen Kohn & Laurie Miller

George Mason University ELI Learning Lunch February 12, 2008


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