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What is the online WebLadder project?
The Webladder Project is an online service available to ESL/EFL students in the general public. It retrieves past and current Voice of America news texts and rates them according to the individual studentís
vocabulary knowledge. As the studentís vocabulary knowledge increases
through increased reading, the online project keeps track of which words
the student has encountered and rates subsequent texts accordingly.
Students can view which new words will appear in a text before they
read the text, and they can click on any word in the text while they are
reading for an immediate definition or translation. They are also able to
review past words they have looked up.
What is the difference between the TextLadder
software program and the online WebLadder
TextLadder, as described in the article in LLT, is a program designed
to examine a bunch of texts supplied by the user and sort them
into a sequence such that students reading the texts in this sequence
encounter new vocabulary at a rate which they can handle.
The WebLadder online educational project presents a different
approach to helping students learn new vocabulary. The WebLadder
project offers students a way to search for new and recent Voice of
America Special English news stories. All the news stories are rated
for each individual student as "easy", "medium", etc. depending on
the stories' vocabulary content. "Easy" stories will be stories that
contain a lot of words that the student has already encountered among
other stories. "Difficult" stories will be stories that contain many new
words. The student can choose a story which looks both easy and
interesting, and he/she is then offered the option of looking at
the new words in the story before reading the story itself. (All
the new words are linked to online dictionaries.) When the student
begins reading the actual story, he/she can see a definition or
translation of any word in the story by simply clicking it (again,
the words are linked to online dictionaries.)
Once the student has finished reading the story, the WebLadder
Project will remember what words the student encountered during
that story and will take them into account the next time other
stories are rated as "easy", "medium", "difficult", etc.
Students can use the WebLadder project by going to
the main page (www.readingenglish.com) and clicking "Students".
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© Sina Ghadirian 2001