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SynPhony Features

Check out these pages for details on additional features.

  1. System-wide features
  2. Word Lists
  3. Readable Texts
  4. Check a Story
  5. Literacy Activities
  6. Nonsense words
  7. Reports
  8. Scope and Sequence
  9. My Library
  10. Track a student
  11. Assessments
  12. Settings

SynPhony Check A Story features

Check a Story

The Check a Story page is useful to check and edit a phrase, sentence, paragraph or entire story. By default the text is checked for decodability or how readable it is based on the selected letters in the Control Panel. Simply type or paste a text into the large text input box. When you click outside the box again or click on the button labelled “Check Decodability” SynPhony will check the story. The results of the analysis appears below the text box.

The various parts of the graphic above have the following functions. The green slider toggles the left side of the page off or on. This removes the Sight Words and the Suitable Words section from the screen if you need more screen space. The Sight Words box can be expanded and collapsed by clicking on the blue bar and text “Sight Words”. Any words you type in this box will be considered “Sight Words” by this page and will be coloured pink in the resulting analysis.

The heading text "55 Suitable Words" contains the words which SynPhony has found as the result of the selected letters in the Control Panel. If the search mode is set to 2 the number of words will be larger than if it is set to number 3. These word appear here to help the editor choose a suitable word if they want to change the text to make it more readable for a particular lesson.

The text box under the heading “Story” is the text input box. Type or paste some text into this box. Then click outside the box or click on the button labelled “Check Decodability” in the toolbar to check the story.

Legend and Results

Below the large text box is the area where the results appear. When you check a story for readability (or decodability) you will see what you see in the image on the right. The legend colours indicate whether a word is decodable (green), whether is is possibly decodable (blue), or whether it is a sight word (pink). Any word that has the default gray background is not readable at the current level because it contains letters that have not been selected.

If you select another letter SynPhony reanalyzes the story and produces the results automatically again. If you navigate away from this page and then return to it the program fills in the last story you checked automatically. So if you want to check another text you will first have to delete the entire text and replace it with a new text. To do this, click in the text box, press “Ctrl+a” and then press “Delete”.

Check a Story controls

The buttons above the text input box let you do several more analyses on the text. The button “Check Decodability” checks for readability with the currently selected letters as already discussed above. The other buttons give you statistics about the text. The “Details”, “Summary”, “Letters”, “Syllable” and “Words” buttons create tables with their respective results. These results would allow you to check and compare multiple texts or stories by checking them one after the other and copying the results into a spreadsheet.

Each of the tables can be copied to the clipboard and then pasted into either a spreadsheet or word processor. The font size can be modified. You can also sort some of the tables by any of the columns. Simply click once on a column header to sort the table by that column. Clicking again reverses the sort order. You can also filter the table by any column. Type in the green filter box that contains the text: Search.... To clear all the filter boxes press the red circle on the right side of the column headers.

Details Report

The Details report delivers statistics about each sentence in the text. Each row reports the number of letters, syllables and words for each sentence. At the top of the report you can enter numbers which will provide visual feedback if a particular criteria is matched or exceeded. These numbers can be adjusted for each grade level to help with writing reading material that is suitable for various levels. What the exact numbers should be will vary for each language and each grade level.

Sentence level analysis

Summary Report

The Summary report contains a rich summary of the analyzed text's characteristics.

Summary analysis of entire text

Most of these items are self-explanatory. A few need a bit of further explanation. The “Alternative format” button is discussed below in the next section. The High frequency words category counts how many of the processed text's words fall within the top frequency groups. The frequency counts come from the texts which were imported into SynPhony's database. The BARS (Basic Automated Readability Score) number is a simple calculation arrived at by adding the average word length and the average sentence length. This number could be used to compare texts in the same language with one another to give a comparative difficulty ranking. A lower number would indicate that either the words are shorter or the sentences are shorter or both and therefore it should be easier to read than a text with a higher number.

Alternative format report

The Alternative format report provides all of the statistical items (and a few more) available in the Summary Report in a format that is suitable for import to a spreadsheet. It can be accessed by first clicking on the “Summary” button and then clicking on the button labelled “Alternative format” located beside the “Copy chart” button above the Text Statistics summary table.

Alternative format output controls for Tab Separated Values

This feature allows to you pick and choose which data items to extract about the text and formats them in a TSV (tab separated value) format which can be copied and pasted into a spreadsheet. This is useful if you are comparing multiple paragraphs or texts with each other.

The button “Copy data as TSV” copies the data from the green output box to the clipboard. The button “Output data as TSV” outputs the data into the green output box at the bottom. The option “Include header row” will include the descriptive text for each data item as the first line. This would result in a column header in a spreadsheet describing the data in that column.

The blue section contains the various data items you can choose from. At the top are 2 buttons that let you Select all of the items or unselect all of them at once. Once you have made your selection of items you can collapse the blue section by clicking on the section header containing the text “Select fields to ouput”. The program remembers which items you select and re-selects them each time you use the Alternative format. If you would like to see any other kinds of statistical calculations performed on your texts please contact the developer.

The green area is the output textbox. You can copy any data from there by clicking on the button “Copy data as TSV” or by clicking in the box and then selecting all (Ctrl+a) and then copying to the clipboard (Ctrl+c). Pasting this data into a spreadsheet can produce a chart like the one below.

TSV results in a spreadsheet

Letter Report

The Letter report consists of 4 columns: Character, Frequency, Category, and UCN (the Universal Character Name in Unicode).

Syllable Report

The Syllable report consists of 4 columns: Syllables, CV Pattern, Frequency, and Letters.

Word Report

The Word report consists of 5 columns: Words, CV Pattern, Frequency, Syllables, Letters.

Non-Roman Scripts

When processing Abugida scripts (also called akshara) there are a few more options. Abugidas are mainly used in the Indian sub-continent. The activity controls contain 2 extra buttons: “Consonant + Matra” and “Conjuncts”.

These buttons produce the following tables:

Consonant + Matra Report

The Consonant + Matra report consists of 2 columns: Characters, and Frequency.

Conjuncts Report

The Conjuncts report consists of 5 columns: Cons.1, Virama, Cons.2, Conjunct, and Frequency.

GPCS Report

The GPCS (Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondences) report is only available if the language does not have a transparent orthography. This applies to some of the so-called “world languages”, such as English, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese among others. The report lists all of the spelling patterns that exist in the text. This is not the same as the letters (either single letters or multigraphs) because in these languages some letters have a variety of pronunciations. There are several limitations in this report, however. The first is that it can only list the GPCS of the words that exist in the database. It is very possible that any text will contain new words, very often proper names and place names but also others, which do not exist in the database. However, the report will let you see which words were not counted because they are not available. The second is that the GPC analysis for a language may be incomplete or inaccurate or you may disagree on the analysis of any particular word in the database for various reasons. Some of these reasons cannot be helped or changed easily and thus you will have to accept the analysis as given.

The toolbar buttons let you copy the chart to the clipboard for use in another program. You will see two frequency counts for each GPC: one for types and the other for tokens. Type counts the spelling patterns from a word list in which each word occurs only once. Token counts how often a spelling pattern occurs in the text, even if a particular word occurs many times. Thus the frequency counts for tokens are almost always higher than for types. The last button lets you toggle (show or hide) the skipped words which exist in the text but do not exist in the database.

The chart consists of 6 columns:

  1. The GPC code used in the database for the spelling pattern.
  2. A symbol used to represent the phoneme (it may or may not be a valid IPA character, but it represents the phoneme).
  3. The grapheme(s) or letter(s).
  4. The Type frequency count.
  5. The Token frequency count.
  6. An example word from the text containing the GPC.

The chart may be sorted by any column by clicking once or twice on the column header text, and it may be filtered by entering a valid search item in the search box.