Did you know that Google would allow you to view readability-filtered search results? I was tipped off to this hidden feature by Alicia Taylor, a district media coordinator, who sent me the Huffington Post article on the feature. To use this feature, simply conduct a Google search, then on the left side of your results, click “More SearchTools” and select “Reading level.” The results of your searches can then be filtered by basic, intermediate, or advanced. So, I compiled a small sampling of results (% of results at each level), mostly games and a few other topics and put them in a table. Interesting results:
My knee-jerk reaction was to look at the WoW and Minecraft percentages and say “Woah, that’s really low. Could games be affecting how they write?”
Then another possibility sprang to mind:
Games like WoW and Minecraft have powerful online communities, where a lot of writing is encouraged. It’s likely that playing these games has encouraged basic writers to start writing.
That or I’m misinterpreting this information, and what it means is if you’re looking for online content for your students to read as they develop good Language Arts skills, you’re better off finding them some decent WoW blogs.
After all, it’s not brain surgery.
That was my reaction, too. This is just data, so I’m not sure that interpreting it this way is meaningful at all, especially not understanding exactly how Google calculates the information. Another factor I considered is likely volume of results. I imagine that WoW and Minecraft have way more fan sites and such out there than other games. This is bound to put a downward pressure on the overall ratings. Would be interesting to know the average of all sites within a particular domain for comparative purposes.