ERIC Number: ED281166
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Dec
Reference Count: 0
Readability--The Situation Today. Reading Education Report No. 70.
Defining readability in both the narrow sense of formula use and refinement and the broader sense of the processing and comprehension of language, this paper argues for the need for more research focusing on readability as a way of improving the match between reader and text. Following a brief introduction, the paper reviews current readability formula research, revealing two strong trends--one toward greater statistical accuracy and more comprehensive measurement of text variables, the other toward greater convenience for the average computationally unskilled user. Noting the conflict inherent in these trends, the paper then looks at alternative approaches to measuring readability drawn from studies of the comprehensibility of jury instructions, of government forms and regulations, of stories in children's reading lessons, of children's literature selections, of selections in languages other than English and from languages without previous traditions of writing. The paper then reviews research on language processing, contrasting the properties of readability formulas with what is currently known about how language is acquired and used. The paper concludes that research beyond formulas, investigating written language and analyzing the psychology and linguistics of language processing, will provide insight into the pressing question of how to improve text readability. (Twenty-four references are included.) (FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Center for the Study of Reading.; Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, MA.
Note: For the technical report with the same title, see ED 266 441.