Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Find Easy to Read Text for Lower Levels

I sometimes wonder why companies continue developing search engines when Google's dominance seems so complete, but every now and then I spot one that has a nice twist and that's the case with Twurdy.
Twurdy is actually based on Google, but it analyses Google results for readability, so it can help you to find more lower level texts for learners without you having to read through every result from Google to see if it's simple enough.

Just type in the topic of the text you need and click on your Twurdy type. You have a choice of three different Twurdy types. The differences are mainly speed (how fast you want your results) vs complexity (how thoroughly you want the results analysed) I would recommend choosing Twurdy with Pop as this will analyse the number of word on the page, length of sentences, number of syllables per word and also the popularity of the words in the text.

Getting more accurate results will save you time in the long run and even using Twurdy Pop isn't so slow.

The results will then be shown colour / shade coded and with a rating. Darker results are more complex texts and the lighter ones are easier. Then you just have to find one that your students will enjoy (or get them to find their own).

Twurdy is a great tool that can save you a lot of time if you are looking for authentic texts to use with lower level students. You could even let them find their own texts to replace the ones in your course book.

I hope it's useful for you.
Related links:

Nik Peachey


Jodie said...

Interesting way to search. What readability formula are they using? I thought it was Lexile but when I looked at some of the sites and compared to my Lexile chart, they did not seem to match up.

Nik Peachey said...

Hi Jodie

They describe how they evaluate readability here in the FAQ http://www.twurdy.com/faq.html
Basically what it says is this' "Twurdy uses custom designed readability software that includes information about the number of words on the page, the average number of syllables in each word, the average sentence length and more to determine a pages readability level. " They also mention scanning the popularity of words.

Any help?