Magazine article Science News

Stories for Students Now Scored for Readability

Magazine article Science News

Stories for Students Now Scored for Readability

Article excerpt

Teachers frequently mention how much they love Science News' sibling publication, the online magazine Science News for Students. But many have also asked for a way to see at a glance how challenging particular stories might be for their students.

So this year, SNS editor Janet Raloff began displaying "readability scores" at the bottom of each SNS article and on every post of its companion blog, Eureka! Lab. And now, readers can search and filter stories according to readability levels.

For the last two years, SNS has published stories at, and usually well below, a ninth-grade reading level. Now the stories display readability scores as a tool for teachers.

"There are several ways to test how accessible the text of a story is for students," Raloff says. "We use the FleschKincaid algorithm. The number it spits out is nominally the minimum average U.S. grade level that should find the story a comfortable read."

In other words, a score of 6. …

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