What Are The Readability Statistics?

In his book The Art of Readable Writing, Rudolf Flesch gives 3 simple readability statistics to rate
your writing's readability:

  • Flesch Reading Ease: Checks if your writing is EASY or HARD-to-understand.
  • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: Measures the grade level you're writing at.
  • Human Interest: Tells you if your writing is interesting.

How Do You Check YOUR Readability Statistics?

Simple. Word’s spelling and grammar checker has these statistics built in. Go to Word’s
Proofing Settings and select Show readability statistics.

Let’s go back to our example from the home page. Copy-paste the following text into Word:

BEFORE

"This sentence expresses itself by utilizing complicated words with an 
abundant number of syllables, is communicated in the passive voice, 
and is overly long relative to the point it desires to make.”

Now, to check for readability, do the following:

  1. Run your text through your spelling and grammar checker.

  2. After Word completes its check, it displays its readability statistics dialog box:
The Readability formulas show if you're  writing in Plain English.

What Do These Statistics Mean?

  • Flesch Reading Ease: 23.6 – “Very Difficult”.
  • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 17.9 – You need about 18 years
    of school to understand! Research shows that most people
    understand at an 8th-grade level.
  • Human Interest: Not covered in Word. More on this later.

AFTER

Here’s one way to make the text easier-to read:

“This sentence uses complex words, too many syllables,
and the passive 
voice. Also, it takes too long to make its point.”

Much clearer!

Check your text again. Now, the statistics show:

The Readability formulas show if you're  writing in Plain English.
  • Flesch Reading Ease: 79.3 – “Fairly Easy”.
  • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 4.8 – You need just a 4th grade education
    to understand.

Your Turn...

Now, set up the readability statistics in Word. Then try them out on your own writing.

Would you change anything?

Then, see what StyleWriter 4 has to say.

› Readability Statistics