Measuring text readability

Pete at Standards-schmandards has created a tool that lets you check the readability of your text. The tool, which will check documents in several different languages, is described in Methods for measuring text readability. The article also contains some basic guidelines for improving readability.

I have to admit that I have never before run any of my text through a calculator like this. I fed a few articles to the Readability index calculator and got Flesch-Kincaid Grade levels from 9 to 14 and Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease scores from 44 to 58. What did your texts score?

Posted on September 27, 2005 in Accessibility, Quicklinks, Writing


  1. I got around 35~50 on reading ease, 11~13 on grade, and 18~20 on Gunning-Fox Index (which can be calculated, along with Flesch-Kincaid’s values, on ILoveJackDaniels’ Readability Score Test.

  2. Correction: it seems that ILoveJackDaniels has a typo, and the correct name is Gunning-Fog Index.

  3. The Flesch-Kincaid (English) Readability score for the W3C markup page question answer to the question What is HTML? is grade level 19, ease 11. Years ago, that information or the information on the validation page may have scored more difficult.

    Now it would be interesting to check paragraphs from speeches, quotes from popular or famous speakers, or information and instructional pages from government websites. For instance a small paragraph with instructional information FAQ explaining disastor or hurricane aid in the United States rates a 13 (which might be too high?). Consider the various levels of users, and also users with English as a second language.

    I remember visiting a website, 7-8 years ago which had a readability test when working on some cognitive testing of web content and accessibility.

    Some things to keep in mind. Content may be delivered to people with a different language than the content. So, sometimes having content less difficult could be helpful or clearer to those seeking information.

    Other links: Juicy Studio: Readibility Tests [several resources listed]

    More about readability testing or content readability, and how it works: Gnome Project: Usability and Readability Considerations For Technical Documentation

    Readability: Measuring the reading age of books and other reading matter.

    (this comment scores 13, ease 31)

  4. Gunning Fog Index: 16.23, Flesch Reading Ease: 28.09 and Flesch-Kincaid Grade: 10.79

    It would be better if there was a homophone usage tool.

  5. September 28, 2005 by Tommy Olsson

    I tested my article on float theory (English version). Grade level 10 and reading ease 52 isn’t too shabby, I think, considering the topic of the article.

    Interestingly enough, the Swedish version scored 51 on the LIX test, which indicates that it’s as hard to read as legalese…

  6. A forum thread I started on the same topic has some relevant information regarding the Flesch technique - 4th comment posted by faglork (Alex) - I’d be interested to hear opinions?

    I still believe the readability test is a valuable tool, but like all automated services - you have to apply some common sense - until AI gets of the ground, maybe ;)

  7. My comment on your article Footnotes got the score:

    Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 5.


    Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease score: 80.

    Feels kinda extreme … but then i’m a child at heart ;)

    This comment got

    Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 5. Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease score: 82.

  8. Wanna see something really cool? Type in a URL and then do the test.

  9. November 4, 2005 by Michelle

    Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 14. Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease score: 37.

    Doubt it. I quite doubt it. The system is flawed! Egads!

  10. I dount that this tool works correctly, as I got different results despite of text was simalar, anyway let’s say “we boys love toys” :)

  11. May 8, 2006 by Christine

    My average Flesch-Kincaid Ease Level is 21.16, and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is 17.88 Being German educated, these levels really have no meaning. Can someone explain these results?

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