Nov 26, 2012

Filter Google Searches by Reading Level!

Problem:


Whenever my students search for content on Google, the reading level is WAY to advanced for them.

Solution:


 Filter your Google search results by reading level.

Filtering your search results by reading level is now built into Google search.

To do this, enter your search on the main Google page, then click on the "Search tools" box.  A new set of options will be displayed below.  Click "All results" and you will be greeted by a drop down menu where "Reading level" may be chosen.  Alternatively, you can click on the gear icon (located on the right side of the following picture) and choose "Advanced search".



The "Advanced search" button will take you to the following page.

You can now select just the reading level you'd like to see: Basic, Intermediate or Advanced.



With "Basic" clicked, all the results are of a basic reading level.

So... what's "Basic" versus "Intermediate" versus "Advanced"?

The reading-level is based primarily on statistical models Google built with the help of teachers. They paid teachers to classify pages for different reading levels, and then took their classifications to build a model of the intrinsic complexity of the text. With this model, they can classify the reading level of any webpage.

So the breakdown isn't grade- or age-specific, but reflects the judgments of teachers as to overall level of difficulty. Roughly speaking, "Basic" is elementary level texts, while "Intermediate" is anything above that level up to technical and scholarly articles.  "Advanced" is going to contain the most detailed information available on a topic.

It is important to note that Wikipedia articles almost always come up in the Advanced category.  Since Wikipedia articles are often the first "hit" of a search, most of our kids are trying to research from a source that is far above their reading level!

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