EFL teachers often ask me how they can be certain that a reading text they use in class or for an assessment has the right level for their pupils. Until a few months ago, I was also looking for a website or a tool that could help me out with this. But then, I discovered VocabKitchen, a tool I would like to share with you. It was developed by Jeremy Garner, former teacher and examiner, and now a developer in the USA.
Part of the VocabKitchen website is a so-called “vocabulary profiler”. You can access it on the right side of the site’s homepage, the blue part. Vocabulary profilers are tools that check if a text (or a part of it) contains words from a vocabulary list. VocabKitchen uses two different lists: the Academic Word List (AWL) and the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR – check post). The latter seems like the most interesting one to us teachers, since most curricula draw on the levels of the CEFR to define a language learner’s proficiency.
How does it work? Once you have clicked the CEFR-button, you get to a new page with a rectangular space. To determine your reading text level, you simply have to copy and paste it into that rectangle. By clicking the “profile” button you ask the tool to match the words in your text with the six main levels (A1 to C2) of the Common European Framework of Reference. You will get the result of this matching in two ways. Words in the original text are given a different colour-code according to their level, from blue for A1, green for A2, orange for B1, red for B2 to pink for C1 & 2. You also get a list of all the words in some kind of table, organized by level. The picture shows an analysis of the first part of this blogpost. As you can see, most of the words fall in the A1 to B2 range, but you can also notice that some words are off-list.
You can save the results of your text by pressing the Word icon on top of the web page. A dictionary is also at your disposal. If you doubleclick on a word, you will get a definition. This can be very handy, if you want to create a gloss for your reading text with all the words from the highest levels. This means VocabKitchen is not only suitable to check the level of a reading text. It can also help to identify which words in a text should be given more attention.
Oh, and before I forget, there is no need to register in order to use the CEFR profiler.