Sunday, November 8, 2015

How to Determine the Readability of Any Text

I'm sure you've seen it before. A child just laboring away trying to work through a passage. Maybe they just circle answers and move on. Or maybe they completely shut down and quit. It may mean the text is just too hard. Now I know that students reading below level will have to work through text on grade level, especially for tests. But that text needs to be within reason (no more than 2 grade levels above their current grade).

So, maybe I'm way behind on this, but I just learned that you can actually check the readability of any document on Microsoft Word! That was so awesome to me because now I feel like I can look at a passage online and decide if it's appropriate for my students or not. Or if I ever decided down the road to create my own passages (not any time soon with a baby in the house), I can make sure it's appropriate. I figured surely some of you were also in the dark on this, so I decided to share a quick tutorial.

First, you have to make sure your program is already set up to find the readability of a passage. Mine was not. It's very easy, and you should only have to do it once.

Once you've done that, you can just put in any passage and test it out! It only takes a few seconds to do. I will say that I tried a list of sentences, but it didn't really work for that. This is geared toward paragraphs of information.

If you don't have Word or just want something easier, I also found a free website that runs text through FIVE different readability formulas and gives an average score:
You can either copy and paste text OR you can check a website's readability. I circled that data it gives.

I'm so excited to have these tools available and can't wait to be able to use them when choosing text to use with my students! It also will be helpful when sending home letters to parents so I will avoid being too wordy. Apparently I don't have much trouble with that since my blog came out as a fourth grade reading level. I guess I'm used to talking to fourth graders! ;-)


  1. I have used this little trick for years. It really does work! Thank you for the post on it! I'm off to share it on Pinterest. =)
    ~Heather aka HoJo~

    1. You're welcome. I can't believe I had no idea. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yes, this little trick does work. It is usually very accurate too! I have only had a few passages come back as two different reading levels on different readability checkers! I love using it in my class!


  3. Thanks so much for sharing this trick! I didn't know about it until now!

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