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04 Dec 2006 - 19:59
I found 3 resources for assessing the difficulty of a book or article yesterday:
And here is Hoagie's Gifted Education Page on readability tests.
When it comes to figuring out your child's reading level, I found the San Diego Quick Assessment helpful. I'll let you know how well it jibes with Christopher's ITBS scores. Scholastic on the San Diego (pdf file)
-- CatherineJohnson - 04 Dec 2006 Back to main page.
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Catherine, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! --PaulaV -- PaulaVal - 04 Dec 2006
You're welcome! These things are going to be a help for me; that's for sure. Does your school give "real" standardized tests? I've forgotten... Mine no longer gives any tests that would provide a parent with actionable intelligence. Just our state tests. Which the teachers themselves are saying may be "invalid." The district is refusing to give Ed and me data on gender and race gaps in scores (yes! you read that right!) We can't even find out if there's a whopping big gap between boys and girls on the ELA test (if there were, I would be less concerned. The new ELA test has a huge amount of writing, which always skews test results towards girls in a non-meaningful way). If you're in the same boat, you might want to consider the ITBS. -- CatherineJohnson - 04 Dec 2006
I think I mentioned on another Comments thread that, at the high school, a 10th grade Honors English class has read one book so far this year. Catcher in the Rye Lexile measure: 790L Which appears to be well below a 10th grade "Honors" reading level... I must say, I'm not finding these Lexile thingies to be particularly user-friendly. Lexile Map
-- CatherineJohnson - 04 Dec 2006
Catcher in the Rye vocabulary: A high school recommended book, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, gives the student the opportunity to learn SAT-College Prep vocabulary in context. We have selected 98 words to encourage study. (Teachers: If you have a vocabulary list for this book (or for others) that you would share with us, email Jan and Carey Cook. We will post it and give you attribution if you wish! Thanks for helping us!!!) The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: Words (98 total words) are listed in order of appearance by chaper: The Catcher in the Rye vocabulary Chapters 1-5: autobiography, dough, ostracize, grippe, posture, ironical, innumerable, moron, phony, sheer, parlor, rostrum, chiffonier, falsetto, conceited, aggravate, hound's-tooth, muffler, monotonous, psychoanalyze, halitosis Chapters 6-10: linoleum, hospitality, fiend, corridor, Canasta, janitor, conscientious, phony, lagoon, incognito, brassiere, burlesque, psychic, brassy, intoxicating, verification, jitterbug Chapters 11-15: snub, necking, newsreel, vomit, rile, galoshes, nonchalant, rake, frock, atheist, chisel, banister, rubberneck, gory, matinee, bourgeois, convent Chapters 16-20: screech, auditorium, bosom, raspy, beret, clinch, blase, conceited, enlightening, sacrilegious, booze, slobber, sophisticated, louse, flitty, boisterous, stagger, puke Chapters 21-26: racket, Sagittarius, Taurus, betray, snotty, expel, spontaneous, flunk, digression, pedagogical, provocative, stenographer, appeal, stimulate, scholarly, pervert, moccasin, cockeyed, recess, mummy, pharaoh, punk, carrousel, jazzy, bawl Thank you to Janice Cook, a former teacher at Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton, California for being our teacher contributor for The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. -- CatherineJohnson - 04 Dec 2006
http://emsc33.nysed.gov/repcrd2005/overview-analysis/660402020003.pdf http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/deputy/Documents/schinformation.shtml -- RudbeckiaHirta - 04 Dec 2006
Does your school give "real" standardized tests? Yes, my son took the ITBS in the fall. I'm anxious to see how he did since I found out through KUMON that he was behind in math and reading. --PaulaV -- PaulaVal - 04 Dec 2006
Yes, my son took the ITBS in the fall. I'm anxious to see how he did since I found out through KUMON that he was behind in math and reading. oh, that's great! So at least you can track his progress year to year. -- CatherineJohnson - 04 Dec 2006
Rudbeckia I knew you'd find it! Unfortunately, the Overview isn't the one I need (and I'm sure the school knows the state hasn't put together an "Overview" for 2005-2006 yet). We're one of the slowest states in the country on getting test score data out. That's the document that will eventually include the info (though you may have noticed they don't break things down by 1s, 2s, 3s, & 4s, but instead post a cumulative total.... That other link is fantastic - thanks so much! I'd never seen that one. -- CatherineJohnson - 04 Dec 2006
Administrative salaries! Goody! -- CatherineJohnson - 04 Dec 2006
I would urge caution about using Lexile scores. They are useful, but not complete. Brief summary:
The reading difficulty of a text seems to come from three components: vocabulary choice, grammar, subject matter. Basically:Lexile tries to capture the vocabulary and grammar portions of difficulty, but ignores the subject matter component. In passing, I'll note that sentence length tends to dominate the Lexile score. If you have nothing more than average sentence length for a text, you can make a reasonable stab at the Lexile score. We can see this by comparing The Grapes of Wrath (680L) to Little House in the Big Woods (930L). So ... Lexile is a reasonable tool, but only a tool. I wouldn't recommend Catcher in the Rye for 5th graders even though that is about where its Lexile score would put it. In fact, according to the Lexile score, Catcher in the Rye is easier than Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Somehow, I doubt that. Having said this, it is reasonable to expect that the school is trying to push the kids to reading texts that have more difficult vocabulary and grammar. In fact, you probably want to push both independently. I suspect, however, that very few schools and very few teachers track this in any quantitative way. -Mark Roulo -- KtmGuest - 05 Dec 2006
Mark - were you the person who told me about Lexile? Or was it someone else? -- CatherineJohnson - 05 Dec 2006
Harry Potter is actually quite difficult. I remember back in grade school, the brainiest kid in the school was reading Harry Potter on his own in....3rd grade I think. When I saw that I realized that child was orders of magnitude ahead of Christopher - who is, I think, a very good reader (taught himself to read; was at that point two years ahead of grade level). That child is still the brainiest kid around. He has no trouble - none - in the Phase 4 class, although even he has found the homework illogical at times! -- CatherineJohnson - 05 Dec 2006
I've got to debrief my sister-in-law on this subject. She's a reading teacher, quite an expert reading teacher at this point. She wasn't enthusiastic about the various "leveled text" approaches, but I didn't get the details. What I did get was that she felt the leveled approach wasn't working. -- CatherineJohnson - 05 Dec 2006
Did I spell "leveled" correctly? I have a feeling I didn't. -- CatherineJohnson - 05 Dec 2006
hmm... I guess I did. Anyway, I'm going to "keep it in the back of my mind," and continue the approach of encouraging as much reading as humanly possible given the fact that we don't live on a farm in central IL prior to cable television and Nintendo Wii. -- CatherineJohnson - 05 Dec 2006
Hi Catherine, I might have been the one who told you about Lexile. I actually prefer Dr. Hayes' LEX metric, but LEX doesn't have the database of books that Lexile does. Is Harry Potter "quite difficult"? My data for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and some comparison texts:
It seems to me that Harry Potter is about a 5th grade text. Maybe 6th grade. Yes, I'd put it there. -- CatherineJohnson - 05 Dec 2006
the McGuffey's is harder in both vocabulary choice and sentence length I've been reading PENROD out loud to Christopher. The vocabulary is incredible. Way over his head. There are words I don't know, either. I think I read that book in junior high (not sure), and I don't think middle school kids could read that book today. -- CatherineJohnson - 05 Dec 2006
One more followup on Lexile and reading difficulty. The Picture of Dorian Gray has a Lexile score of 970L, a LEX score of -23 and an average sentence length of 13.4. So the vocabulary and average sentence length would put it at about 6th grade or maybe 7th. This is NOT a 6th-7th grade book! The scores are "more like guidelines than actual rules" (extra credit if you recognize the quote!). However, it is still important for the school to find some texts for the children to read that do have the more difficult vocabulary and grammar. They don't get let off the hook because some adult books have simpler vocabulary and grammar. -Mark Roulo -- KtmGuest - 05 Dec 2006
Dorian Gray is definitely not 6th grade. -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
no! I don't! Where did that come from?? -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
Ed and I were talking about that - it's simply not OK for the school to say "Have your child read more" which is pretty much what we get, even from Honors English courses in high school I'm hearing. I have ZERO idea how to choose books for Christopher other than to get a general sense of "level" and to keep trying to find stuff he likes. When it comes to selecting literature for young adolescents, I am not a TRAINED PROFESSIONAL -- CatherineJohnson - 09 Dec 2006
The quote is from Pirates of the Carribean. Our heroine has invoked the "Code of the Order of the Brethren", a pirates code, to negotiate with pirates attacking the city in which she lives. A deal is struck, and now she wants to be returned from the pirate ship to shore. Pirate Captain Barbossa:
First, your return to shore was not part of our negotiations nor our agreement so I must do nothing. And secondly, you must be a pirate for the pirate's code to apply and you're not. And thirdly, the code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner.I loved this movie. -Mark Roulo -- KtmGuest - 12 Dec 2006