Language Research Center - Reading Comprehension Techniques

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Welcome
Words of Wisdom
No one should teach who is not in love
with teaching.
Margaret Elizabeth Sangster
Vocabulary Club
Vocabulary Club
• Aim: to expand members' active English vocabulary in a systematic but
informal way
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Both students and faculty welcome
Once a week for 45 minutes in the LEP
Sharing new words members have learned
New vocabulary reinforced through activities and vocabulary games
Members benefiting from the outset
Reading Comprehension
Find it on the blog
Reading Comprehension Skills
Presentation
rcspresentation.blogspot.com
On the blog you will find …
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PowerPoint presentation (but in PDF)
Readability statistics for Well Read 1-4
16 texts from Well Read 1-4, downloadable and editable
3 experimental texts of my own devising (lower levels)
2 additional texts for readability tests (J.K. Rowling, Steve Jobs)
Blog Contents (contd)
• My introduction and continuity commentary
• Full results of my 3 investigations into
o Readability of texts
o Students’ perception of reading
o Correlation between time taken to complete reading comprehension test,
and test result
Downloadable and editable
• All the documents embedded in the blog except for the
PowerPoint presentation (which is in PDF) are downloadable
and editable in either Microsoft Word [2013] or Microsoft Excel
[2013], depending on the format they were uploaded in.
• PowerPoint format of presentation obtainable on removable disk.
Screenshot of blog
My approach / philosophy
• Reading Comprehension Skills (appropriate course title)
• Subtitle: A course in thinking
• Getting students to think about the course
in a certain way
• Opening up the texts for students
Readability Tests
• Designed to gauge the understandability of a contemporary English
academic text.
• Among other things, they produce an approximate representation of
the number of years of formal education someone needs to
comprehend the text.
• However, they give several additional and very useful statistics e.g.
lexical density = a measure of the proportion of the content (lexical)
words over the total words.
Some Readability Tests
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Automated Readability Index
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease & Grade Level Tests
Gunning Fog Index
SMOG Index
Fry Readability Formula
Coleman-Liau Index
Word of caution
• These tests DO NOT necessarily produce the same results.
• You can run different tests on the same text but ultimately have to settle for
one or two of them and base your decisions on that.
• The important thing is to achieve an internal consistency in your test
findings.
Whole text or part thereof
• You can run the tests on an entire text or parts thereof
• This could help you determine the level of difficulty of the questions based
on a particular part.
• (Check if average of individual results correspond with comprehensive
result)
Readability Tests
• Online
• Offline
Offline: Microsoft Word 2013
[Flesch Reading Ease & Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Tests]
Readability tests - online
• Readability-Score.com
https://readability-score.com/
• Readability Formulas
http://www.readabilityformulas.com/free-readability-formula-tests.php
Text Content Analysis Tool
A very useful tool that you could use in conjunction with any of the
standard readability tests. More about this tool later in this
presentation.
How to enable Readability Statistics in
Microsoft Word 2013
With a Microsoft Word document open:
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Click on File.
Click on Options.
Click on Proofing.
Select both “Check grammar with spelling” and “Show readability
statistics”.
5. Click “OK”.
Running the Test in MS Word 2013
Run a grammar and spell check.
Once completed, the statistics will come up.
Important:
You have to run the grammar and spell check first. That’s where the
readability test gets its statistics from.
Sample Readability Statistics
Understanding F-K Readability Scores
Flesch Reading Ease Test
This test rates text on a 100-point scale. The higher the score, the
easier it is to understand the document. For most standard files, you
want the score to be between 60 and 70.
Understanding F-K Readability Scores
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Test
This test rates text on a U.S. school grade level. For example, a score
of 8.0 means that an eighth grader can understand the document.
For most documents, aim for a score of approximately 7.0 to 8.0.
F-K widely used
• The F-K formula was first used by the U.S. Army for assessing the difficulty
of technical manuals in 1978.
• Soon became the Department of Defense military standard.
• Pennsylvania: car insurance policies must be written at a maximum of ninth
grade level (14-15 years of age). This is now a common requirement in many
other states and for legal documents e.g. insurance policies.
Text Content Analysis Tool
http://www.usingenglish.com/resources/text-statistics.php
Text Statistics 1
(Text Content Analysis Tool)
Text Statistics 2
(Text Content Analysis Tool)
Text Statistics 3
(Text Content Analysis Tool)
Word Frequency Cloud
(Text Content Analysis Tool)
Word Frequency Cloud
(Text Content Analysis Tool)
Related Investigation
• A fascinating related investigation would be into the readability of listening
comprehension texts, and investigating a possible correlation between the
level of reading comprehension difficulty, on the one hand, and the level of
listening comprehension difficulty, on the other.
Analysis of Well Read 1-4 texts
Readability statistics for
16 Well Read 1-4 texts
• Readability statistics (handouts)
• Flesch-Kincaid grade level ranges for 4 texts at each level. Pay particular
attention to the extent of the overlaps.
• Complete statistics on the blog
• Also on the blog, the texts of the 16 texts, downloadable and editable,
should you want to run your own tests.
Practical implications / utility
• Eliminating guesswork in choosing texts for quizzes and exams
• Moving outside of, and beyond, the text book
• CHOOSING TEXTS FOR SUPPLEMENTARY (VOLUNTARY)
READING ASSIGNMENTS AND QUIZZES
 The Well Read series we’re using is (1) dated, (2) monochrome, (3) monotechnological, and (4) all non-fiction.
Practical Implications (ctd)
• Papers submitted for publication
• Speeches
Experimental texts
• Uploaded to blog (embedded)
• Three texts
(1) Poem [on friendship]
(2) Humorous quotes
(3) Did you know? [interesting information]
Each with readability statistics and possible questions.
Words of Wisdom
Nine tenths of education is
encouragement.
Anatole France
Find it on the blog
Reading Comprehension Skills
Presentation
rcspresentation.blogspot.com
Survey (anonymous)
(Complete statistics
on the blog)
Questionnaire – Reading 1
On a scale from 0 – 10:
Q1 How much do you enjoy reading Arabic?
Q2 How much did you enjoy reading English before this course started?
Q3 How much do you enjoy reading English now?
0 = hate(d) it; 10 = love(d) it
Results/findings
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Two sections (7201, 7203)
16 + 21 = 37 students
Figures in columns 1-3 express relative like/dislike
Percentage in column 4 expresses the increase/decrease when comparing (a)
students’ enjoyment of reading English before the course started to (b) their
enjoyment of reading English midway through the course
Results / findings
Q1
68.38
Q2
56.49
Q3
73.78
%
inc/dec
+17.30
Duration/grade correlation
Duration/grade correlation
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Correlation between time taken to complete test, and test results?
Reading 1, sections 7201 and 7203, midterm 1
Objective test (multiple choice, T/F, fill in the blanks)
1 hour
3 segments: first 30 minutes, next 15 minutes, final 15 minutes
Results / findings
• Top scorers: 85 and above
• Extended the analysis to 2 sections of Writing 1, for comparison
• Complete statistics on blog
Results / findings – Reading 1
(two sections)
Composite - Reading
Segment Segment Segment
1
2
3
Average of top scorers (%)
98
91
93
Average of non-top scorers (%)
75
70
66
Average of all scorers (%)
95
80
71
Results / findings – Writing 1
(two sections)
Composite - Writing
Average of top scorers (%)
Average of non-top scorers (%)
Average of all scorers (%)
Segment Segment Segment
1
95
0
95
2
94
57
73
3
93
66
74
Comparative Results
Composite - Reading/Writing
Segment Segment Segment
1
2
3
98
91
93
95
94
93
Ave. top scorers (%)
R
W
Ave. n/top scorers (%)
R
W
75
0
70
57
66
66
Aver. all scorers (%)
R
W
95
95
80
73
71
74
Words of Wisdom
I'm afraid I have an incurable urge for
teaching.
Antonio Munoz Molina
Find it on the blog
Reading Comprehension Skills
Presentation
rcspresentation.blogspot.com
Conclusion
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