What’s readability scoring?
It’s a way to try to measure how easily someone can read and understand a piece of writing.
Paste the text you want to measure into the box, we crunch the numbers and show you the readability score of your text. The readability score corresponds with the US school grade system. Even though we’re based in the UK, most readability tools use the American grade system.
Our readability engine uses six different readability tools and averages their scores to give you a Readability Score. If you want to see the score from each readability tool, they’re at the bottom of the page.
What’s a good score?
When you’re writing for customers, aim for around Grade 6 (11-12 years old), even though your customers will be older.
But the people I write for aren’t kids!
Most people won’t give you their full attention when they read, they’re often distracted and often reading on mobile devices. The simpler you make your writing (without losing its meaning), the easier they’ll find it and the more likely they are to understand.
Even if you’re writing for a professional audience, simplicity and clarity makes you easier to understand. When people are short of time, they’ll thank you for it. And the easier you make something to read, the less effort people have to spend on deciphering your meaning, leaving them with more capacity to understand.
Making your writing more readable cuts query calls and complaints and stops you having to sort out problems caused by people misunderstanding (or just ignoring you) further down the line.
How can you use readability scoring?
It’s useful if you need an objective measure of how easy something is to understand. For example, if someone asks you to make a piece of writing more complicated or ‘professional’ by using long words and complex sentences. Try scoring your original and their revised writing. Compare the scores and show them the results (best do it diplomatically though).
It’s useful if you need an idea of how readable your writing is. Using a readability scoring tool will help you. You can try different ways of writing the same thing to improve its readability.
What are the limitations of readability scoring?
Readability scoring is a good way to measure your writing, but it’s not the most important thing. Use it as a guide, not as an infallible way to make your writing better..
It won’t tell you how good your tone is. For example, you can get a great score for writing “I hate you. Go away.”
It doesn’t take into account the way you structure your writing or lay it out on the page or screen.
The score on its own won’t help you write more clearly or simply – it just gives you a measurement.
Different types of scoring
As well as our own average of the results from six readability tools, we’ve used:
The Gunning FOG Index
Uses sentence lengths and the number of polysyllabic words to calculate readability. Gives a US Grade level, so the lower the number the more readable the text.
Uses the number of polysyllabic words to calculate readability. Gives a US Grade level. Stands for ‘Simple Measure of Gobbledegook’.
Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease
Uses word length and sentence length to calculate readability. Gives a score broadly out of 100, where the higher the score, the more readable the text. Used by the US military for scoring training manuals.
Flesch Kincaid Grade Level
Uses word length and sentence length to calculate readability but gives a US Grade score.
Uses word length, sentence length and grade level of words to give a US Grade score.
Automated Readability Index
Uses word length to give a US Grade score. Originally designed to give a quick readability score on electric typewriters.