Tuesday, July 29, 2008

ESL Teacher Resources: Readability Tools on the Web

I've been working on developing reading passages that provide fluency practice for readers that are 4th grade to adult that are low-readability and high interest. In trying to ensure low-readability, I've found a couple websites that have proven to be great tools.
One website that helps determine the Grade Level Equivalency (GLE) of a passage is called STORYtoolz. You simply copy and paste your text into the box, and it averages several different GLE programs to provide an overall GLE score.
The other website provides information about the percentage of words in a passage that are high frequency words. This vocabulary profiler website looks daunting, but it's really quite easy to use. You simply copy and paste your text into the box and click the submit window. You will then be shown the percentage of words in the text that fall within the 1,000 most high frequency words and the 2,000 most high frequency words.
Use these websites to check readability levels of passages your ESOL students read to ensure that you're providing students with readings that are level appropriate. As a rule of thumb, ESOL students should know 90% to 95% of the words in a passage to be level-appropriate.

(See also my post about obtaining Lexile scores here.)


  1. Hi Heidi -
    I was hunting for CALL blogs and found your site. Nice blog! I was happy to check out the readability tools you shared. The Internet is amazing - so much potential for language learning -- in my opinion, it should revolutionize the way we teach. But, I still find lots of online resources that don't begin to harness the power of Web 2.0 -- instead, they're simply digitized textbooks. Sigh.

  2. Hi, Anny!

    It's good to hear from you! I understand your frustration. The internet has great potential to, as you said, revolutionize our teaching when we find the right tools to adopt or adapt that fulfill our objectives. Best of luck to you in your quest to "harness the power of Web 2.0"!

  3. Thank you, this was very helpful!