Measuring Readability / Reading Level
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An appropriate reading level will make or break your handout. Reading level can be measured using the Flesh-Kincaid Index, the Fog Index, SMOG-testing, the Fry Formula, and a host of other approaches. Reading level tests typically count syllables in words, and words in sentences.
Microsoft Word includes readability statistics as part of its spell-checking capability.
To access this tool in Microsoft Word:
  • Highlight the text you're interested in measuring.

  • Click "Tools."

  • Click "Spelling and Grammer.

  • The readability scores will appear after the spell check.
All of these readability tools are OK, but use common sense. The instruction, "Do not induce vomiting" scores very well on a syllable- and word-counting test, but is it really 3rd grade reading level?

For more on reading level and readability, I highly recommend Cecilia and Leonard Doak's Teaching PAtients with Low Literacy Skills.

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