ERIC Number: ED222876
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jul
Reference Count: 0
A Publisher's Attempts to Make Its Content-Field Textbooks More Readable: A Case Study in Social Studies.
A British publisher conducted a readability study of its English language content area texts being used in foreign countries to determine how the texts could be made more readable. A cloze procedure assessment of a secondary school Hong Kong social studies series indicated that the English texts were too difficult for 91% of the pupils tested. Teachers were also asked to group their pupils into those who understood the text and those who did not to determine whether the teachers' assessment correlated with the cloze results. They, too, predicted that the texts were too difficult for most of the students tested. A multiple choice test of vocabulary revealed the several kinds of vocabulary posed problems of readability, including idiomatic expressions, "imported" vocabulary, and unfamiliar words lacking context support. Based on these results, the entire secondary level social studies series was rewritten. Among the changes made were three-column pages with ragged right margins, artwork located at the appropriate site in the text, unfamiliar words translated into Chinese, and simplification of other vocabulary. A summary of main points was placed at the end of each chapter, and an English/Chinese minidictionary was included at the end of the books. A manual of "readable writing" was subsequently developed, intended for authors and editors of educational textbooks. (HTH)
Descriptors: Chinese, Cloze Procedure, Content Area Reading, English (Second Language), Foreign Countries, Readability, Reading Difficulties, Second Language Learning, Secondary Education, Social Studies, Textbook Evaluation, Textbook Preparation, Textbook Publication, Textbook Research, Textbook Selection
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Hong Kong
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the United Kingdom Reading Association (19th, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, July 19-23, 1982).