Use ChatGPT to explain anything to your young children

ChatGPT understands the concept of the “Guided Reading Levels” that elementary school teachers can use to select texts of appropriate difficulty levels for K-8 students. The GRL ranges are:

      • Kindergarten: A-C
      • 1st Grade: C-I
      • 2nd Grade: I-M
      • 3rd Grade: M-P
      • 4th Grade: P-S
      • 5th Grade: S-V
      • 6th Grade: V-Y

    ChatGPT cannot read a webpage URL, but if you type into the chat: “Please summarize this text to GRL level K: ” and paste in the text of an article (be careful not to include any ads or unrelated text!), it will give you a summary of that article using words appropriate for the average 2nd grader.

    Screen capture of ChatGPT input dialog, with a command to summarize a pasted block of text from a website

    I selected the main article text from this page about book publishers trying to shut down libraries’ ability to lend digital books, and asked ChatGPT for a GRL Level K summary. It’s result:

    Some big book publishers are trying to stop libraries from lending out digital copies of books, which is called controlled digital lending (CDL). But CDL has already been deemed legal by the courts. The publishers say CDL interferes with their ability to sell books, but that’s not true. The judge in the case asked tough questions of both sides, but it’s not clear what will happen yet.

    I asked for Level Y (a more advanced 6th grader) and it gives this summary:

    Some big book publishers are trying to kill off libraries through a lawsuit against a lending method called controlled digital lending (CDL). CDL is a way for libraries to lend digital copies of books, which has already been deemed legal in copyright law. The publishers claim that CDL interferes with the market for licensed ebooks and that digital scans don’t deteriorate the way physical books do. However, licensed ebooks are generally better than scanned CDL books, and the big publishers have turned licensed ebooks into a scheme to block libraries from lending ebooks. A hearing for the lawsuit challenged both sides, and the judge asked the publishers to prove that the Internet Archive’s Open Library caused them harm while also questioning whether the Internet Archive had the right to make copies. The publishers argued that they should have made even more money during the pandemic, but this argument was challenged by the judge. The case will likely be appealed regardless of the outcome.

    So now you’ve got no excuse not to talk with your younger children (or, say, your neighbor of the opposite political affiliation from you, who you think is the mental equivalent of a 3rd grader!) about anything. “AI” will give you the words!

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