After you write your story, how can you know what reading level it is? Would you like to be able to tell your readers, your editor, your publisher what age group your book is appropriate for, as far as skill-level?
In Microsoft Word, there is a fairly simple test you can run to find out how easy your writing is to understand, and even what grade level can read it. It’s called Document Readability and Flesch-Kincaid Levels.
Here’s a How To post on this awesome writer tool:
One caveat: you will have to complete a full automated spell check on the entire document to get the results. If you haven’t done it already, it could take a lot of time to get to the end. But I always recommend running a perfunctory spell-check on your document at every stage, so you might as well run one!
Open your document in Word. Go to File, select Options. In the Options window, go to Proofing:
Under When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, make sure these two items are checked off:
- Check grammar with spelling
- Show readability statistics
Click OK, and close Options.
In your document, go to the Review tab, and click Spelling & Grammar
This will begin a spelling/grammar check. This is the part that might take a while if you haven’t already done a spell-check. Once it’s finished, it will display your results:
Here’s the reading level for my recent book, The Starless Girl, which is perfect, because it’s YA, and I normally recommend my writing for grades 6 and above.
Flesch Reading Ease is a reading score out of 100. The higher the score, the easier it is to understand.
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level refers to the US school grade level that could read it. This is great to know when speaking to people about your book, especially if you’re writing in the middle-grade, YA, or NA markets. It’s also good to know for meta-data on Amazon, where you can denote what grade it’s appropriate for.