Reading Level Analysis Will Change the Way You Write

By Shane Snow

The other day, a friend and I were talking about becoming better writers by doing a “reading level analysis” of our work. Scholars have formulas for automatically estimating reading level using syllables, sentence length, and other proxies for vocabulary and concept complexity. After the chat, just for fun, I ran a chapter from my book through the most common one, the Flesch-Kincaid index:

I learned, to my dismay, that I’ve been writing for eighth graders.

Curiosity piqued, I decided to see how I compared to the first famous writer that popped in my head: Ernest Hemingway. So I ran a reading level calculation on The Old Man and the Sea. That’s when I was really surprised:

Read the full article at The Content Strategist.

3 thoughts on “Reading Level Analysis Will Change the Way You Write

  1. This isn’t surprising to me, but then again when taking a course in community nutrition, reading level was a topic of discussion when preparing educational materials for the public. The idea was, the easier it is to read then the easier it is to understand and the wider the net you can cast with it. I think this is why best sellers tend to be written in the lower grade levels. Not because people are stupid, but because people don’t have to work hard to understand it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m the same way, so I understand. If I want to read to relax (or if I’m short on time), it’s not going to be a legal document, text book, or clinical paper that I pick up.

        Liked by 1 person

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