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September 27, 2005

Tribune Review and reading for understanding

After listening to the class discussion on the Tribune Review's article about North Korea and how it wasn't written for the majority of people to understand it, I began to wonder what the actual reading level of the article was. In my reading in the secondary content area class we found out that statistics show that the average American reading level is only that of an eighth grader. Therefore, the majority of newspaper articles are supposed to be geared toward this eighth grade level. After reading the article I knew that there was no way that it was written at this level, so to calm down my thoughts I pasted the article (from the Trib's website) into a word document and did a Flesch-Kincaid reading level test and surprisingly it came out to be a 10.8 reading level, which is almost three grade levels above the average American. So I ask myself, why isn't the Tribune Review making this article easier for the average American to read? I mean it is an article that deals with a major issue that is taking place in the World, so shouldn't the majority of the American society be able to read and understand what the reporter has to say?

Posted by AshleeLupchinsky at September 27, 2005 09:26 PM


I felt that Ashlee felt overwhelmed by the discussion. I admit I did also. I do not think however we should have been. Tho North Korea is a very political subject and I admit I am not very into politics, but I did like the discussion aspect of the article.

Posted by: Rachel Prichard at September 27, 2005 11:45 PM

It wasn't actually a Tribune-Review staff member who wrote that article -- they got it from a news service.

But you made a good point. Perhaps if you average out all the articles in the whole newspaper, there would be some lower-than-average articles that would even out the score.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at September 27, 2005 11:57 PM

I have to admit I felt quite clueless about this article at first as well. Not necessarily because the reading level was too high, but simply because I was unfamiliar with the subject. I feel this way about most political stories because I tend to shy away from any controversial and political topics. I enjoyed the class discussion on it though because I felt that Prof. Jerz did a good job of summarizing some of the background info, which made me feel more informed and made it easier for me to understand the importance of the story. If we hadn't talked about it I would never have known anything about it and I would still have been confused about the article.

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at September 28, 2005 02:51 AM

Yes, Rachel, I was a bit overwhelmed by the article because I didn't understand what the writer was trying to say and I felt that with such an important topic, more people should have been able to understand it. I also agree with you that the discussion in class was helpful and also gave me a better look at politics, which I too am not very knowledgable of.
Dr. Jerz, I realized when I read your comment that I made the mistake of saying that it was the Trib's fault, when in fact I did know that it was written by the Associated Press.
The point that I had intended to make with this reflection, was that like I said above, with such an important topic more should be able to read and understand.

Posted by: Ashlee Lupchinsky at September 28, 2005 07:52 AM

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