Google’s Reading Level Search Feature

In a comment on my recent post about teaching students to search for reliable information on the web, Debryc wrote:

I want to teach my students these skills of information curation but I don't know how. I find it challenging myself to find reading level accessible material for my fifth graders.

Are there any good blogs/books to read that can help us start purposefully planning lessons and learning experiences on information curation and research?

While I don't have a ton of time to write today, Debryc—we're hosting an end of the year pizza party for our Kiva Microlending Club tonight, so I'm icing down cokes and opening bags of chips as we speak—I wanted to point out a quick solution that might be a good starting point for you.

Google has just recently introduced a Reading Level feature to their searches.  You can find it by clicking on the "More Search Tools" link that appears in the left side bar of any Google search page. 

After selecting the "Reading Levels" option, all of the returned search results will be sorted into "Basic," "Intermediate" and "Advanced" categories. 

You might also be interested in this bit that I wrote on teaching kids to approach content with caution.  It includes a few structured handouts on spotting hoax websites and on using Google's Wonder Wheel to work through more structured searches. 

I hope that's useful to you!


PS:  My book—Teaching the iGeneration—also has an entire chapter on introducing students to strategies for information management.  You can check out the handouts for the book here



5 thoughts on “Google’s Reading Level Search Feature


    Hi Bill (and others),
    I recently had the opportunity to attend a Google workshop. I was overwhelmed by the search features which have been developed. We spent the greater part of the morning searching with timeline, wonderwheel, reading level, etc. One of my colleagues remarked that by using timeline to search terms like iron, steel, coal…one could learn a ton about the industrial revolution.
    Here is a link to the notes that I took during the session.
    P.S. the google URL shortener also tracks how many times your shortened links get clicked

  2. Philip Cummings

    Thanks, Bill. I had no idea that Google had a reading level feature, but I’ll certainly be investigating it further and putting it to use. And, while I’m commenting, let me say that your Digitally Speaking Wiki ( ought to be required reading for pre-service teachers (or anyone else) studying tech integration. I think I share it every time I work with teachers on integrating a tool.

  3. Kristin

    As usual, Bill has great ideas. One more: if you are in a school with a certified librarian, this is exactly the kind of task he or she should be able to help you with, too!

  4. mratzel

    Hope you’re going to post more about your microlending project…..I love Kiva, as you know. I love it when you tell about how your students work with this model of community service.
    It gives others a real view about possibilities.

  5. Betsy Norris

    This is amazing news! As a 7/8 reading teacher who helps my team with science fair research every year, too advance results is a major frustration!

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