The Readability of Malaysian English Children Books: A Multilevel Analysis

Adlina Ismail, Normah Yusof, Kamariah Yunus


These days, there are more English books for children published by local publishers in Malaysia. It is a positive development because the books will be more accessible to the children. However, the books have never been studied and evaluated in depth yet. One important factor in assessing reading materials is readability. Readability determines whether a text is easy or difficult to understand and a balanced mix of both can promote learning and language development. Various researchers mentioned a multilevel framework of discourse that any language assessment on a text should take into account. The levels that were proposed were word, syntax, textbase, situation model and genre and rhetorical structures. Traditional readability measures such as Flesh Reading Ease Formula, Gunning Readability Index, Fog Count, and Fry Grade Level are not able to address the multilevel because they are based on shallow variables. In contrast, Coh-metrix TERA provided five indices that are correlated to grade level and aligned to the multilevel framework. This study analyzed ten Malaysian English chapter books for children using this Coh-metrix TERA. The result revealed that the Malaysian English children books were easy in shallow level but there was a possible difficulty in textbase and situation model level because of the lack of cohesion. In conclusion, more attention should be given on deeper level of text rather than just word and syntax level.



Readability, assessment of reading materials, children books, Coh-Metrix

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