Today I decided to find out the readability of my short sea story. I copied and pasted the excerpt from Teaser Tuesday into http://www.addedbytes.com. Apparently it is powered by a Google code project. It checks how easy text is to read.
This is what it told me:
The first score we calculated was the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease (Wikipedia). The text scored 75.10 on this scale (a higher score indicates easier readability; scores go from 0 to 100).
The second set of scores all return a “grade level”, based on the USA education system. A grade level is equivalent to the number of years of education a person has had. Scores over 22 should generally be taken to mean graduate level text.
Readability Formula Grade Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (Wikipedia) 5.90 Gunning-Fog Score (Wikipedia) 8.20 Coleman-Liau Index (Wikipedia) 9.80 SMOG Index (Wikipedia) 6.00 Automated Readability Index (Wikipedia) 5.40 Average Grade Level 7.06
The tool reported that this text contained 34 sentences, with 432 words (12.71 per sentence) made up of 607 syllables (1.41 per word).
If 100 is easy reading (kindergarten level maybe? not sure), than 75 doesn’t seem bad. The average grade level is 7th grade (7.06 probably means 7th grade, yes?) and I am not sure if that is good or bad. The other tests are more confusing – two are for high school, three are for 5th and 6th grade. The Coleman-Liau Index says 9.8, almost 10th grade, and this I don’t like. I really, really, don’t think my short sea story is so complicated you have to be 9th or 10th grade to understand it. I will admit I wasn’t aiming for children when I wrote this, but I don’t think it is out of the scope of 6th graders.