Monday, December 20, 2010

Google reading level

Google advanced search now has a reading-level feature which groups search results in to basic, medium, and advanced reading levels. According to Nudu, a Google employee, 
"The feature is based primarily on statistical models we built with the help of teachers. We paid teachers to classify pages for different reading levels, and then took their classifications to build a statistical model. With this model, we can compare the words on any webpage with the words in the model to classify reading levels. We also use data from Google Scholar, since most of the articles in Scholar are advanced."

It seems unlikely that this will be of much value to English language learners, but it seems worth trying out. Here's this blog's breakdown by level.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Award-winning Whodunit

Hugh and Al Graham-Marr are friends from my Japan days who started up a publishing company called Abax. This year, they published Fiction In Action: Whodunit by Adam Gray and Marcos Benevides, which recently won the Duke of Edinburgh ESU English Language Book Award for 2010. The book is also notable as possibly the first commercial ELT text to also be published and made available for free under a Creative Commons license.