Graded teaching material
Graded teaching materials are an attempt to simplify reading material to suit language learners' apparent levels. They include "graded readers", or "easy readers" which may offer "classic" novels such as Treasure Island or the Sherlock Holmes stories using restricted vocabulary and grammar.
Possibly more popular with a juvenile public, some teachers think that the most that can be said for such materials is that they give a sense of false achievement to students who might otherwise not read anything in the real world. Adults certainly should only be given access to authentic reading material, be it of the glossy magazine type, serious literature, poetry or newspaper articles, depending on the context.
In the same way that you wouldn't expect a student to want to listen to a dumbed down version of his or her favourite song, students should be encouraged to read the original version of any text - though perhaps with a glossary to help with more problematic words. This is similar to the way in which native English speakers need annotated texts to which comments have been added to explain or interpret words, phrases or other elements of the text of works by Shakespeare, for example.
Notwithstanding the above, a totally different matter outside the context of TEFL is the important movement to produce reading material in Simple, or Plain English. This is aimed at people with different needs and people with learning disabilities or those who read below a proficient level in their own languagewhich actually corresponds to over 25% of the adult population in most so-called developed countries....
If graded readers were prepared with criteria of accessibility and Simple English, the quality and authenticity of the language used would make them more appealing, and the current impression they give of dumbing down to foreign language students might encourage more teachers to recommend their use to students.
- The Oxford Text Checker. Checks the vocabulary of a copied and pasted text against a list of 3000 basic words.