One Writer’s Journey

January 9, 2014

Readability

ReadabilityAt various points in my writing career, I’ve had editors ask me for material written at various reading levels.  To find the Flesch Reading Ease and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level:

  1. Click the File tab on your ribbon.
  2. Scroll down to Options.
  3. Click on Proofing.
  4. Under the category “When Correcting Spelling and Grammar in Word,” make certain that “Show Readability  Statistics” is chosen.

Once you do this, you can find the values for these two common tests when you run Spellcheck.

If your reading level needs to be adjusted, keep these things in mind:

  • You can adjust reading level by opting for simpler vocabulary words.  If your piece tests high but there are a variety of difficult must-have words, such as names, you can do a search and replace and temporarily swap these terms out for simpler ones.
  • Another way to adjust the reading level is by using short, simple sentences.  Subject verb object will yield a lower reading level than compound sentences or sentences with phrases.
  • Shorter paragraphs also make for a  lower reading level.

Any time you tinker with the reading level of a passage, you need to make certain that it still sounds smooth. There is one and only one test that works accurately for this.  Read the piece out loud.

It may take several attempts to write an article or story that is at the right reading level and sounds smooth but it is well worth the effort when you impress your editor.

 

–SueBE

 

 

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