I’m not saying Rewordify is the silver bullet that will solve all of your problems with difficult text and primary documents. But it comes pretty dang close.
As we’re asking our kids to do more reading, especially of primary sources, it is also becoming more difficult to find leveled text and grade appropriate documents. The people at the Stanford History Education Group and others are suggesting that we need to modify the stuff we give our kids, making the information more accessible. That’s not always easy to do – it takes time and can be difficult finding replacements for struggling readers.
Rewordify can help.
Basically Rewordify takes a block of text or website and replaces difficult words and phrases with text that is easier to understand.
The site claims that this helps students read more, understand difficult English faster, and learn words in new ways. I’d throw in that the site can help you and your students break down difficult primary documents.
It’s also a great example of how you can integrate the Collect theme of our C4 Framework into your unit design.
The process is simple. Just type or paste in a sentence, paragraph, or website address and click the button. Rewordify.com analyzes the entire block of text—all at once—and finds all the hard words and phrases. You’ll instantly see a modified version, that simplifies and highlights those hard words and phrases, helping users understand and learn in new ways.
You can do the same sort of stuff with web pages. Just enter a website URL into the box. A separate window pops open with the same sort of look that you got with text but now it’s embedded on the site you entered. You can use all of the same tools as before.
Users can change the way the highlighting works to fit their learning style. You can control how easy or difficult the output text is, and the difficulty threshold of the words that are simplified and explained. (The site uses the Brigham Young University’s 450-million-word Corpus of Contemporary American English to determine the difficulty of each word in the text blocks you enter.)
Simply enter a block of text and click the button. You’ll instantly see a menu of choices, from “Maximum,” which rewords the most words with the simplest definitions, up to Level 5, which rewords only the hardest words with more descriptive definitions. This lets you match the support level to the reader, and progressively withdraw support as reading skill improves.
With a few clicks, you can also create a variety of foundational content building activities such as vocabulary quizzes, definition lists, matching sheets, and word bank sheets, with or without answer keys, from your block of text.
Students can do on-screen flash cards, quizzes, and word bank activities that give instant feedback and support their learning. Just rewordify a block of text, and you’ll see the tools below the text.
Their video does a great job of demonstrating what it looks like in practice. (Not sure I agree with the lounge jazz choice of music as background but what do I know?)