materials writing

Text analysis, level checks, profiling, etc

A new subscriber, Gemma Archer, just asked about text profilers. I’ve shared this response as a comment but thought I’d paste here as might crowdsource some more ideas??? Help please 🙂

(Response)

I use, or have used, text inspector (free version 250 words). My go-to for a while.

https://textinspector.com

This is the link for longer texts (thanks Silvina/Teresa)

http://www.englishprofile.org/wordlists/text-inspector

The text analyzer from Road to Grammar:

http://www.roadtogrammar.com/textanalysis/

Lextutor.ca, which I used during my MSc and was a bit more (too!) technical:

https://www.lextutor.ca/vp/

It’s not something I’ve used recently and now it looks pretty aaaaargh but useful for checking word frequency I think.

EDIA Papyrus – I used this more when it was in beta but was good.

https://papyrus.edia.nl

There’s one from Duolingo now but won’t work on my phone for some reason. Haven’t used it yet but an option maybe (?)

https://cefr.duolingo.com

Vocab kitchen, used a few times, basic but ok

https://www.vocabkitchen.com/profile

There are also some sites that make it easy to grade their texts, which I like! NewsELA being one, but it’s not a profiler as such so bit of a tangent there.

Might be worth asking Julie Moore the same question, I think this might be her area of expertise…

*Update* Julie has responded with this AWESOME post!

(End)

WAIT! I’ve remembered another one!!! The NILE Members area (free to join) has a text analysis tool!

Another here, the Oxford text checker, shared by Gordon Dobie via Facebook.

Dan Shepherd (via LinkedIn) just shared this one for Pearson Global Scale of English

Jane Wescombe (via LinkedIn) shared this tool from Lexicool.

Gemma said she’s had mixed success with text analysis tools. Me too. Main difficulty for me has been how some tools seem to analyze words individually, so things like phrasal verbs get missed. Anyhow, they can be a useful starting point or general kinda marker for writers. I think these are the only ones I know but if another one comes to me I’ll add it in the comments/do an update 🙂 please share others and your experience of using them if you’ve time. Cheers.

Review: Eduland Writing Project

Eduland is a short story project for the China ELT market. You write short fiction texts for young learners, add a few comprehension questions (guidance given), do one round of edits (typically), and get paid!

Currently, the short stories are part of a series involving a fictional family called the Jollys. Full road maps and character profiles are provided along with writing templates, topics to avoid, and plenty of other guidance.

Stories should be between 400-2500 words. Submissions are paid at 7 US cents per word.

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Materials writing news and views, March 2021

Mostly new releases, plus references to Premier League sticker albums…

New releases

  • English Code – Mary Roulston. Dinosaur on the front cover, win.
  • Cambridge Primary World English teacher’s guides – saw on Melissa Bryant’s Linkedin. Hodder Education.
  • Language Fuel have another new course and some kinda revamp coming up. Teaching EAP, Tania Pattison. Incidentally, the Language Fuel ‘Who’s who’ of authors is a bit like a Merlin/Panini sticker album of ELT Writers. They only need Rachael Roberts for complete coverage. If you ever collected EPL stickers then you’ll know all about ‘the shiny’, which in this case I guess is Jill Hadfield. I wonder who would be ‘Peter Fear’. I swear, this guy was in EVERY pack I ever bought.
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Materials Development Task 11: Future-proofing

Think…

  • Have you ever created a resource that aged quickly?
  • What aspects/features of a published resource might make it more susceptible to ‘ageing’?
  • How could you, as a writer, minimize the chance of a resource becoming dated?
  • Do you think that resources aimed at certain markets are more likely to date quickly? Why/Why not?

It’s time to play… DATE THAT RESOURCE!

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Materials Development Task 10: Knowledge and the notes

This is a new series of blog posts for teachers looking to become materials writers. It aims to help future writers explore topics and issues in writing, encourage deeper insight into the content of published materials, and promote a principled approach to materials development.

Think…

How would you rate your knowledge and skills in the following areas? Give yourself a mark between 1-10 for each category.

1 = Huh?

10 = I’m an expert!

  • Subject/content knowledge – e.g knowledge of grammar, vocab, pronunciation, language skills and strategies, etc.
  • Pedagogical knowledge – e.g. knowledge of teaching approaches, how students learn, etc.
  • Cognitive knowledge – e.g. knowledge of the science of learning; memory models, encoding, storage, retrieval, etc.
  • Technological knowledge – e.g. knowledge of how to best use technology to enhance learning.
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Materials Development Task 9: Functional language

This is a new series of blog posts for teachers looking to become materials writers. It aims to help future writers explore topics and issues in writing, encourage deeper insight into the content of published materials, and promote a principled approach to materials development.

Think…

  • How would you define functional language?
  • To what extent does transactional language differ from interactional language?
  • How do you approach teaching functional language?
  • In your experience, how is teaching functional language approached in published materials such as coursebooks? How do you feel about the approach(es) used?
  • In a general sense, how might the functional language needs of YLs, teens and adults differ?
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Materials Development Task 8: Questions

This is a new series of blog posts for teachers looking to become materials writers. It aims to help future writers explore topics and issues in writing, encourage deeper insight into the content of published materials, and promote a principled approach to materials development.

Read this extract then answer the questions.

Wikipedia
  1. What is the International Birdman?
  2. What does the competition involve?
  3. Why do birdmen attempt to fly off the pier?
  4. Where is West Sussex?
  5. When did the event first move to Bognor Regis?

Think…

  • What do you think of the above questions?
  • What’s wrong with Question 4?
  • How effective is each question for checking understanding?
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Materials Development Task 7: Tomlinson’s principles

This is a new series of blog posts for teachers looking to become materials writers. It aims to help future writers explore topics and issues in writing, encourage deeper insight into the content of published materials, and promote a principled approach to materials development.

Think

Rank these features of materials development in order of importance. There is no correct answer, it’s just your opinion!

  • challenge
  • personalization
  • affective engagement
  • raising learners’ confidence
  • enjoyment

Do you feel that published material should address all these features as standard? Why/Why not?

Do feel that each stage of a lesson should address some if not all these features? Why/Why not?

Tomlinson                                                                   

Some of Brian Tomlinson’s key principles of materials writing (2011).

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Materials Development Task 6: Purpose and redundancy

This is a new series of blog posts for teachers looking to become materials writers. It aims to help future writers explore topics and issues in writing, encourage deeper insight into the content of published materials, and promote a principled approach to materials development.

Think…

  • How much/often do you evaluate the materials you create?
  • Do you ever take a step back and consider ‘flow’ in your own resources?
  • Have you ever taught or created a resource that you felt (on reflection) included redundant stages?
  • How often do you think about the ‘why?’ and ‘what for…?’ of lesson staging?
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Materials Development Task 5: Pronunciation activities

This is a new series of blog posts for teachers looking to become materials writers. It aims to help future writers explore topics and issues in writing, encourage deeper insight into the content of published materials, and promote a principled approach to materials development.

Think…

  • What are your overall views on pronunciation activities in published materials such as coursebooks?
  • How often do you write pronunciation activities for your own resources? How easy/difficult do you think these materials are to create?
  • What staging principles do you follow when writing pronunciation activities?
  • Are the stages you follow based on research, teacher experience and intuition, or both?
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