Flesch Reading Ease Readability

Introduction

There are over 200 readability formulas that you can use to determine the readability levels of your articles. But out of those, one of the most trusted and most commonly used is the Flesch Reading Ease.

This readability test was formulated in the late 1940s by Rudolph Flesch, an author and writing consultant with a Ph.D. in English. Flesch was an avid advocate of phonics and developed ways to improve the readability of newspapers.

Today, the Flesch Reading Ease is used by many people in different industries, including marketing, research communications, policy writing, and even the government. The US Department of Defense, to be specific, uses this readability test. You can also use it for school text.

Description

The Flesch Reading Ease remains one of the most straightforward and accurate readability tests to date. It is a test that shows you a Flesch readability score between 1 to 100. What score you get determines the level of education someone needs to read and comprehend your writing.

As a general guide, it is best to aim for a score between 60 to 70 or 70 to 80. This grade level is easily understood by most 8th to 9th graders.

For the Flesch Reading Ease, the easier the text is to read, the higher the score you get. A score of 90 to 100 can be understood by 5th graders, while a 0 to 30 is best comprehended by college graduates.

Formula

For the mathematical formula of the Flesch Reading Ease, you will need to take into account two things: Average Sentence Length (ASL) and Average Syllables per Word (ASW). Averages Sentence Length can be judged by how many words are usually in the sentence. In contrast, word length can be judged by how many syllables are in a word.

To get the Reading Ease score between 0 to 100, you will need to use:
RE = 206.835 – (1.015 x ASL) – (84.6 x ASW)

The idea behind this formula is pretty simple. Sentences with more words are harder to follow than short sentences. Likewise, the more syllables in the word, the harder it is to read. So a useful guide is to keep your words and sentences short and concise.

Grade Conversion

RE Score School Level Comprehension
100.0-90.0 5th Grade Very easy to read
90.0-80.0 6th Grade Easy to read
80.0-70.0 7th Grade Fairly easy to read
70.0-60.0 8th & 9th Grade Conversational English
60.0-50.0 10th , 11th & 12th Grade Fairly difficult to read
50.0-30.0 College Difficult to read
30.0-10.0 College Graduate Very difficult to read
10.0-0.0 Professional Extremely difficult to read

Uses

The great thing about the Flesch Reading Ease is that it is highly versatile and be used in many different types of writing. You can even use it to score reading materials for school to make sure you’re giving the correct reading difficulty to kids.

Aside from academics, you can also use the Flesch Reading Ease test for writing website content, advertisements, textbooks and training programs, and novels. You can even use it to boost SEO Performance.

How to Improve Score

Improving your score using the Flesch Reading Ease is pretty straightforward as long as you understand its basic idea. Some of the tips to increase your readability score are:

  • Shorten your sentences. Refrain from using complex sentences. It’s much better to break them up.
  • Keep your paragraphs short, as well. About 5 sentences per paragraph is an excellent guide.
  • Choose your words carefully. Simple words that are used in everyday conversation is preferred.
  • Write for your audience. Know your audience and their level of knowledge. Make sure to write in their language. Using their terms and general lingo will help them understand the text better.

Further Reading

Wikipedia

Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease

The Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease is:

See Grade Conversion Table to interpret the score.