Google Docs, the web-based word processing application from Google, has recently added some features that might be helpful to teachers of English Language Learners.
I’ve read about them in a few places this week, but a post in the Google Blogoscoped blog gives the clearest information and examples about them. These changes allow you to now calculate the “readability” and “grade-level” of your text (and anybody’s else’s you copy and paste).
I also saw another post (I unfortunately don’t remember where) that said some versions of Word have the same ability.
I’ve never paid attention to these measurements, and have generally used my experience and instincts (and also just asked my students) about what was comprehensible to them. However, I can imagine that these would be helpful tools to have sometime.
When using Word go to Options, click on Spelling & Grammar tab, and click on Show Readability Statistics. I will use it when I am writing a paper for an online class or a report for the District Office. I want to make sure that I am writing something that shows that I have gone to college. I’ve also used it to test the actual reading level of some of our school’s textbooks vs the reading level that we were told that they were supposed to be. Amazing how different they can be! There is a place online where you can find a Fry’s Readability graph and it will do the same thing. The one in Word is usually the one that I use though.
Thanks a lot for sharing the info about Word!