Resources

Word and Character Counts

Timed Reading Passages (Data File)

There are large differences in the number of characters in timed reading texts, even within the same series or official word count. This can significantly impact reading times in your class or your research study. I hope the data in the link above can help you better interpret your results.

Recommended use: for results that matter in the classroom or published research, calculate reading speed in characters per minute or standard words.

Graded Readers (coming soon)

There are large differences in the average word length in graded readers, even within the same series, publisher, or reading level. This means that students who read the same number of words may be processing very different amounts of raw text. This has implications for any study attempting to control time on task. I hope the data in the link above can help you better interpret your results.

Recommended use: measure reading amount in character based units such as characters per minute or standard words.

Vocabulary Profiling

Genius Dictionary 3- and 2- Star Vocabulary Lists (Related Files)

The Genius English-Japanese dictionary (Minamide, 2014) is one of the standard English-Japanese dictionaries used by Japanese learners. The words on the reference lists described here were labelled as A or B Rank (3 or 2 stars) in the 5th edition, meaning they are thought to represent English words at the JHS and SHS level.

Recommended use: if you work at a Japanese institution that requires materials to only use Genius Dictionary A or B rank words, then these lists can help you.

Vocabulary Tests

Listening Vocabulary Levels Test (LVLT) (Download Related Files)

The LVLT was created to address a gap in L2 Vocabulary testing, in that there has been no widely available test of aural lexical knowledge. The LVLT tests aural knowledge of the 5 most frequent 1000-word frequency bands of the BNC/COCA word frequency list created by Paul Nation (2012), along with the Academic Word List (Coxhead, 2000). The LVLT uses a multiple choice format with four L1 distractors and a reading of each target word first in isolation, then within a non-defining context sentence. If you would like to create another version of the LVLT for different L1 students, please let us know and we will do what we can to help.

Before using this test, I’d like to offer the following notes:

  1. We should emphasize that our validation was only the validation of an initial administration, in a single setting, with predominantly low proficiency Japanese learners. If anyone else wants to use the test, they are free to do so, but they must be aware that it may not work as intended for them. We welcome inquiries from people wanting to trial the test in other contexts.

  2. There is increasing evidence that the word family (level 6) unit of word counting used in the BNC/COCA might not be appropriate for all learners due to the assumptions required about learners’ knowledge of affixes and derivations. Therefore, this test might overestimate knowledge of words within a text, especially for less proficient learners.

All users of the LVLT should be aware that they need to analyze the data themselves to consider the validity of its use in their unique context.

If used or referenced, please cite as:

McLean, S., Kramer, B., & Beglar, D. (2015). The validation of a listening vocabulary levels test. Language Teaching Research, 19(6), 741-760. (Download Offprint)

The Simplified Chinese variant was kindly translated by Dr. Anna Chang

New Vocabulary Levels Test (NVLT) (Download Related Files)

The NVLT is a written-receptive parallel version of the LVLT which can be used by teachers and researchers for both pedagogical and research-related purposes. If you would like to create another version of the NVLT for different L1 students, please let us know and we’ll do what we can to help.

Before using this test, I’d like to offer the following notes:

  1. We should emphasize that our validation was only the validation of an initial administration, in a single setting, with predominantly low proficiency Japanese learners. If anyone else wants to use the test, they are free to do so, but they must be aware that it may not work as intended for them. We welcome inquiries from people wanting to trial the test in other contexts.

  2. There is increasing evidence that the word family (level 6) unit of word counting used in the BNC/COCA might not be appropriate for all learners due to the assumptions required about learners’ knowledge of affixes and derivations. Therefore, this test might overestimate knowledge of words within a text, especially for less proficient learners.

All users of the NVLT should be aware that they need to analyse the data themselves to consider the validity of its use in their unique context.

If used or referenced, please cite as:

McLean, S., & Kramer, B. (2015). The creation of a new vocabulary levels test. Shiken, 19(2), 1-11. (Download Manuscript)

McLean, S., & Kramer, B. (2016). The development of a Japanese bilingual version of the New Vocabulary Levels Test. Vocabulary Education and Research Bulletin, 5(1), 2-5. (Download Manuscript)

Media

Extensive Reading

Introduction to Extensive Reading

This is a video I co-created and narrated, which explains the benefits of Extensive Reading (in Japanese).

Introduction to Xreading.com

This is a video I co-created explaining Xreading.com to students (in Japanese).