How do I reduce text complexity?

I was recently asked how to reduce the complexity of text (lower the reading level) not only by length but by replacing the words to make it more accessible to English Language Learners.  There are a few, easily accessed tools to help accomplish this.

Within Chrome, TLDR will reduce the length of any text you are viewing online. You can also drop text into a site such as Text Compactor to do the same. However, neither of these will replace or reduce the complexity of the text, that is where Rewordify comes in to play.  Rewordify allows you to add text and have it replace the complex words as well as provide audio support for those words.

Example 1:  I took the text from Wikipedia about the Moon and ran it through Readability Formulas to assess the reading level, it rated the passage at a grade level of 10.

Readability Consensus
Based on 8 readability formulas, we have scored your text:
Grade Level: 10
Reading Level: fairly difficult to read.
Reader’s Age: 14-15 yrs. old (Ninth to Tenth graders)

Running it through Rewordify provided alternative words and provided audio support but did not reduce the complexity grade equivalent.

Readability Consensus
Based on 8 readability formulas, we have scored your text:
Grade Level: 10
Reading Level: fairly difficult to read.
Reader’s Age: 14-15 yrs. old (Ninth to Tenth graders)

I then went to TLDR to shorten the text and ran it through Rewordify which resulted in an increased text complexity.

Readability Consensus
Based on 8 readability formulas, we have scored your text:
Grade Level: 12
Reading Level: fairly difficult to read.
Reader’s Age: 17-18 yrs. old (Twelfth graders)

Example 2: George Washington

Original Copy:

Readability Consensus
Based on 8 readability formulas, we have scored your text:
Grade Level: 11
Reading Level: difficult to read.
Reader’s Age: 15-17 yrs. old (Tenth to Eleventh graders)

Rewordified:

Readability Consensus
Based on 8 readability formulas, we have scored your text:
Grade Level: 11
Reading Level: fairly difficult to read.
Reader’s Age: 15-17 yrs. old (Tenth to Eleventh graders)

TLDR Summary + Rewordify:

Readability Consensus
Based on 8 readability formulas, we have scored your text:
Grade Level: 12
Reading Level: difficult to read.
Reader’s Age: 17-18 yrs. old (Twelfth graders)

Conclusion:

While on the surface it would appear that there is no benefit based upon the readability formulas, Rewordify does provide multiple substitutions for the replaced words as well as audio support and definitions.  The added words are most likely the cause of the lack of change in grade equivalency.  This is a great tool regardless of the equivalency change solely for the audio support and added learning tools and is why it makes it to my resource page.

reword