Strategies for Helping Readers
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
In an attempt to select appropriate text for students, readability formulas were developed. These formulas, however, rarely accounted for all of the variables. The main readability formulas in use today (Fry, Dale-Chall, Spache) only include sentence length and syllable count.
The formulas also exclude student variables, such as:
- Prior knowledge of vocabulary, text structures and content
The narrow view of readability in these formulas, lies within the text rather than being a combination of reader and text factors.
For a more comprehensive look at readability, consider Reader-Text Match.
Next Teacher Support: Matching texts to readers