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Often we get caught up in our own writing and think that our format, language, text, and grammar are adequate for all of our audience. When we assume that everyone in our audience can read our work, we miss out on those that find our writing a little difficult to understand in terms of format.
In order to become aware of how our ideas and thoughts are communicated you can find your readability score. Readability scores help measure if your written work is understood by your intended audience.
Any time there is a text for an intended audience, you expect the audience to have no trouble reading the information and comprehending it. But there is often a miscommunication between the intended reader and the author of the written work.
Readability is the ability of another person to read written thoughts and ideas that are intended for their skill level.
Most of the time when dealing with younger children or people below our level of reading and comprehension, there are things we intend to get across in our writing but are considered too difficult for their level of education to understand. By determining your work’s readability, you can be assured that your text is reaching your reader in the intended manner.
Readability scores are computer calculated scores that can identify what level of education your reader is or needs to be. In terms of readability, there are many different scoring options. A few of the well-known readability formulas that are used today are the
The Dale-Chall Score is used to find the difficulty of comprehending a certain text. This score uses a list of 3,000 words that fourth-grade American students reliably understand. Any word that is not part of this list will be considered difficult to understand or read.
Another scoring technique used is the Spache Score. The Spache Score is used for texts that are fourth-grade reading level and below. A text being graded by the Spache Score is compared to a list of everyday words. It will determine the score based on the number of words per sentence and the percentage of unfamiliar words to your readers; this will determine the reading age that is most appropriate for your text.
The Flesch-Kincaid Score is another readability test that indicates how difficult it is to read a passage in English. This category of readability scores has two separate tests for determining readability for various audiences, the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. Both use the same main measures, word and sentence length, but have different weights on their factors.
Written work that has a high Reading Ease score will have a lower Grade-Level score and vice versa. The Flesch Reading Ease indicates that high scoring material is easier to read and those with low numbers are difficult to read.
The Flesch Grade Level score identifies the material by giving a score as a United States grade level to simplify the readability level for teachers, parents, and others dealing with various books for children.
The SMOG formula originally created to estimate the years of education that someone reading a text needed to understand the material. The way SMOG works is by counting ten sentences at the beginning, middle, and end.
Using the total of thirty sentences, it will then count every word with three or more syllables in each sentence group. After figuring out that number, the square root will be taken and eventually the SMOG grade will be configured. Often the SMOG formula predicts at least two grades higher than the Dale-Chall Score.
The last index used would be the Gunning Fog score.
This readability test is used to estimate the years of education needed for a person to understand on the very first reading of a text. A gunning fog index score of 12 is considered to be at the reading level of a United States high school senior and a universal understanding score would be considered an 8 on this index. This index is based off of average sentence length and complexity of words used.
Readability scores give authors a chance to review their work and identify their target actual audience. By identifying words, sentences, and grammar that are hard for the intended audience to understand writers can adjust their work to fit their readers.
Without a readability score, a text might never be picked up by readers due to their inability to read and understand. With a readability test, a written work is more likely to be read by the intended audience who is able to comprehend the text that was adjusted to their individual level of understanding.
Readability scores help get any written work across in the most efficient ways. Whether you are writing a textbook or putting new content on a website, you must always consider your audience before anything else. In order to get the information across to your intended readers, you must first think of how they would read the information and understand it. There are times when a writer’s preferences take over and the audience’s needs become an oversight.
By taking the time out to do a readability test or by having another person score your work’s readability, you can create a more efficient and better way for readers to comprehend and absorb the information given to them.
Readability scores help determine how suitable a text is for the intended audience and will help the writer better understand what is needed to communicate with their readers.