C.O.D. Library ESL/ABE/GED Faculty Newsletter

October 9, 2008

Assessing the Reading Level of a Textbook

Filed under: General — Tags: , — Jenn @ 2:54 pm

Debra Smith, former librarian to the ABE/GED/ESL divisions recently sent around the following helpful instructions for using Microsoft Word to determine Flesch-Kincaid reading levels of academic materials.

If you are having a difficult time discerning the readability levels of your textbooks, and publishers are not getting back to you in a timely manner, you may wish to consider using the Flesch-Kincaid Grade level feature built into our Microsoft Word program. It would offer some justification (if required).

Here, I’ve reproduced her screenshots and instructions for this simple process:

  • The way to do a Flesch-Kincaid grade level is to put a few representative paragraphs from a text into Word (at least 200 words).
  • From the Tools menu, select Options

  • Click the Spelling & Grammar tab.
  • Make sure the box for Show readability statistics is checked.

I haven’t tried this out yet, but it looks pretty straightforward.

Another option I found is a free, downloadable application called Flesh.  Flesh is a document readability calculator that provides both the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level and the Flesch Reading Ease Score.  It’s available for Mac, PC and Linux.

Let us know with a comment if you’ve used other resources for determining readability.

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