Student Author(s)

Jori Gelbaugh
Amber Carnahan

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Michael Jipping, Computer Science

Document Type


Event Date



The content of online articles, as well as distracting images and advertisements, can threaten a student’s ability to retain critical reading information, especially a student with a reading or learning disability. Articulus is a Google Chrome extension that allows users to easily read online articles by replacing difficult words on a webpage with less difficult synonyms and by removing distracting advertisements, allowing students to easily read material at a level that is closer to their reading level. After studying readability metrics, the researchers created and extensively tested the Carnahan-Gelbaugh metric to determine the difficulty of online articles. After analyzing the difficulty of a page and determining what words are above a student’s set level, Articulus passes the original word through several checks to determine the best possible synonym. The researchers studied methods for maintaining grammatical and contextual accuracy when choosing synonyms, and pass the original word through a User Synonym List, Grade Sight List, Developer Synonym List, and then finally through an external knowledge source (Collin’s Thesaurus) to choose the best synonym that is appropriate in the context of the original sentence and less difficult than the original word. The researchers worked with two parapros from Black River Middle and Elementary School in Holland, Michigan, who are currently using the product to help students with disabilities understand online reading more easily; the researchers hope that future developments and improvements could expand beyond the scope of their original client to help any student struggling with online reading.