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Being a Motivator
Considering Readability
Matching Texts to Readers
Use Valid Assessment Strategies
Methods of Responding
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Considering Readability

Curriculum Strategies for Reading

Strategies for Helping Readers

Considering Readability

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:

  • Interest
  • Prior knowledge of vocabulary, text structures and content
  • Decoding

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



U.S. Department of Education Star Schools Program