Thursday, February 13, 2014

How Readable is Your Text?

I was sifting through my many YouTube channel subscriptions and came across this video:

Now to be fair the video is about how we blindly just click "Accept" when we come upon those Terms & Conditions pages when signing up for things online and is a bit on the dry side. So I am not sure whether you want to spend the 10 minutes to watch it. One of the topics was about how complex the wording is in these documents and how that is a deterrent, right away, for most people to read them. So at about the 3 minute mark they talk a Google Chrome Plugin they developed called Literatin that would take the text of any web page (or any text you copy and paste into it) and give it a general rating that goes from Green Eggs & Ham (at the low end) and Frankenstein (at the high end).
Using the plugin is pretty easy. Once you install it on Chrome, you will see an icon appear on your toolbar. When on a web page, just click on the icon and it will read the text on the page and give a report. So for example, this blog page of text comes back equivalent to Harry Potter with an adult Literacy level of about 2. 

If you want to use text from a PDF or Word document, just copy it and past it into the plugin. So for example I took a reading passage from the 2013 OSSLT and it came back equivalent to Moby Dick with an adult reading level of 2 or above. Or I went back to the 2013 Grade 6 EQAO test and took a passage from it and it came back equivalent to Harry Potter with an adult reading level of 1. Finally I looked at the 2013 Grade 3 EQAO test and took a passage from it and it came back equivalent to Oh the Places You'll Go with an adult reading level of 1. 

Now I am not a literacy expert but I still think that this seems like a useful tool. If you found this tool useful (or not) it would be nice to hear from you in the comments. 

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