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The actfl Language Proficiency Syllabus 2012 -- reading describes the five main language proficiency levels: Excellent, Excellent, Advanced, Intermediate and Elementary。The description of each major level represents a specific range of capabilities。These levels are aggregated into a hierarchy in which each level covers all levels below it。The three main grades of senior, intermediate and primary are divided into three secondary grades of higher, middle and elementary respectively。The breakdown of the advanced level is new, making the description of reading similar to that of other skill levels。

reading is an interpretive skill。reading comprehension is mainly based on the information that readers can infer from the text and the inferences and connections they can make inside and outside the text。The READING Language Proficiency Syllabus describes how readers understand written texts by describing what they can do for different types of texts and in different types of contexts。The syllabus does not describe how to develop reading skills, how to learn to read, or the actual cognitive processes involved in reading。The outline is intended to describe what the reader can understand from what he or she reads。

Outlines can be used for interpretative reading (books, essays, reports, etc.) as well as interpersonal reading (instant messages, text messages, email correspondence, etc.)。

Written descriptions of reading levels are available online with authentic text samples and practical reading tasks for each major level。

The actfl Language Proficiency Syllabus 2012 -- reading is for non-profit, educational use only. It must be reproduced in full and cannot be altered, and must be attributed to actfl。


Excellent readers can understand a wide range of different types of texts, including professional, technical, academic and literary。These texts are characterized by one or more of the following characteristics: highly abstract, precise or uniquely worded, information-intensive, allusive or complex。Readers can understand implicit information, tone, and ideas, and follow persuasive arguments。They can read unexpected turns of mind related to complex topics。

Excellent readers can understand works written for a specific audience, as well as several historical, regional and colloquial variations of language。These readers can appreciate the richness of the language being written。Excellent readers can understand and appreciate texts that use highly precise but often rare vocabulary and complex rhetorical structures to convey subtle or highly specialized information, usually short text length, but may also be excerpts from longer texts。

Excellent readers understand language within a cultural framework and understand the subtleties of the author, but they may still not fully understand some of the non-standard variations of written language。

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A good reader is able to understand a wide range of texts, whether familiar or not, covering a wide range of topics. Understanding is not limited by familiarity with the subject, but by mastery of the language that results from a wide vocabulary, an understanding of complex structures, and an understanding of the target culture。Good readers are able to draw inferences from clues outside the text and language。

Excellent readers are able to read texts with precise, often specialized vocabulary and complex grammatical structures, including arguments, opinions, hypotheses, and abstract language patterns encountered in academic and professional reading。Such texts tend to be logical and/or analytical and often cite scripture。

Readers at a good level can understand long texts of a professional, academic or literary nature。In addition, good readers can usually appreciate the aesthetic properties of language and its literary style, but may not fully understand texts with deep cultural allusions and assumptions。

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Advanced readers will be able to understand authentic narrative and describe the main points and supporting details of the text。Readers can use contextual cues to make up for their lack of knowledge of vocabulary and grammatical structure。Similarly, knowledge of language norms (e.g., noun/adjective agreement, verb positioning, etc.) can also aid comprehension。If they are familiar with the topic, advanced readers can extract some meaning from simple argumentative text (e.g., discovering the main argument)。

Advanced readers can understand clearly structured and predictable text。Most of the time, the articles are uncomplicated, and the topics are relevant to real-world topics of concern。

Advanced readers can read new topics independently。They have enough of a grasp of standard language specifications to understand sequences, time frames, and time sequences。However, texts that address issues in the abstract are likely to present challenges for these readers。

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Advanced readers can fully and easily understand normative narrative and descriptive texts of any length as well as more complex factual material。They can read parts of an argumentative text in a specific area of interest or knowledge。In addition, they can read text on parts of unfamiliar topics or situations。These readers are able to go beyond understanding the facts of the text and begin to understand the author's intended implications。Their ignorance of the aesthetic nature of language and its style enables them to understand many types of text。Misunderstandings may occur when reading texts that are structurally and/or conceptually complex。


Advanced intermediate readers can read ordinary narrative and descriptive texts, such as extended descriptions of people, places, and things, as well as descriptions of past, present, and future events。These texts reflect the standard language norms of written language in such a way that readers can anticipate what they will read。Readers can read the main points, facts, and many supporting details。Comprehension comes not only from an understanding of the situation and subject, but also from an understanding of the language itself。Readers at this level can derive some meaning from texts that are structurally and/or conceptually complex。


Advanced elementary readers will be able to read common narrative and descriptive texts with a clear basic structure, although their understanding may be uneven。Most of these texts contain high frequency words and structures。Readers can understand the main ideas and some supporting details, and understanding may often come from an understanding of the situation and topic。Readers at this level will have difficulty reading more complex texts。


At an intermediate level, the reader understands the information conveyed in simple, predictable, loosely connected text。Readers rely mainly on contextual cues。They are most likely to understand information if it is a familiar text pattern, such as a weather forecast or a social statement。

Intermediate readers can read texts that convey basic information, such as those contained in statements, notices, online bulletin boards, and forums。These texts are not complex and have predictable presentation patterns。There are few connections between utterances, which are basically composed of a single sentence and a series of sentences with a large number of high-frequency words。

Intermediate level readers are most accurate when deriving meaning from simple, straightforward text。They can understand information contained in a highly familiar everyday context。Readers at this level may not fully understand detailed texts, or texts that require knowledge of language structures to understand order, time frames, and chronological order。


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Intermediate and advanced level readers can fully and easily understand short, uncomplicated texts that convey basic information and address personal and social topics based on personal interests or knowledge。Readers at this level can also understand a portion of coherent text with description and narration, but will occasionally have gaps in their understanding due to limited knowledge of vocabulary, structure, and written language norms。


Intermediate readers can understand short, uncomplicated texts that convey basic information and address basic personal and social topics of personal interest or knowledge, although some misunderstandings may occur。If the topic is familiar, readers at this level may be able to glean meaning from a short, coherent text with description and narration。


Intermediate and elementary readers will be able to understand part of the information from the simplest coherent text that addresses limited personal and social needs, but misunderstandings may occur frequently。Readers at this level will have difficulty understanding the meaning of a coherent text of any length。


Beginner readers can understand keywords and cognates, as well as stereotyped phrases that are highly contextual。

Beginner readers can get a limited amount of information from highly predictive texts that are familiar with the topic or context, such as hotel bills, credit card receipts, or weather maps。Beginner readers rely primarily on their own background knowledge and extralingual AIDS (such as images on weather maps or the format of credit card statements) for meaning。

Beginner readers understand the text best when they can predict the information。At the elementary level, recognition of keywords, cognates, and stereotype phrases makes comprehension possible。


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Advanced readers can fully and easily understand keywords and cognates and formulaic phrases in a series of highly context-consistent texts。If they learn vocabulary, they can read predictable language and information, such as the language on train timetables, maps and street signs。Low-level readers are usually able to extract meaning from short, uncomplicated texts that convey basic information through contextual or extralingual AIDS。


Beginner level readers are able to recognize letters or symbols in an alphabet or syllabic writing system, or a limited number of characters in a phonetic language。They can recognize several highly context-consistent words and phrases, including cognates and loanwords, but rarely understand material beyond a single phrase。Repeat reading is often required。


An elementary reader can recognize a limited number of letters, symbols, or characters。They can occasionally recognize high-frequency words and/or phrases supported by good context。