10th Grade Biology Textbook Analysis: A Readability Study
Teachers should consider assessing the textbooks they are planning to use in the classroom. Textbook evaluations and assessing students’ connections with texts are important tasks for content area teachers and students (Vacca, 2002). Teachers are constantly assessing the suitability of reading material for their students. Readability can be defined as the grade level at which a document is written. Readability is concerned with the factors that affect students’ success in reading and understanding a text. These factors include the legibility of the print and illustrations, the motivation and interest of the reader, and the reading level of the text in relation to the reading ability of the reader (Johnson, 1998). These key ideas of readability are at the heart of choosing the best textbooks for students. There are many readability formulas or indexes teachers can use to objectively measure the readability of textbooks. Many readability formulas have been developed as a result of research evidence (Johnson, 1998). Most readability formula and index values are calculated by measuring sentence length and word familiarity or word length to determine a grade-level score for text passages (Vacca, 2002). There are several widely used readability formulas. The Fry Readability Graph was developed by Edward Fry in 1977 for the purpose of predicting readability. It is a quick and simple readability formula. He used the common formula variables of syllables per 100 words and words per sentence. The user marks the counts of the variables on a graph and then reads the readability grade score directly from it. The graph was designed to identify the grade-level score for materials from grade 1 though college and can predict the difficulty of the material within one grade level (Vacca, 2002). Flesch-Kincaid Formula was developed to be used as a US Government Department of Defense standard test. The formula...
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