Reading level for kids books

Finding the reading level

Last week, I went to the Monash Writer’s Group with the awesome George Ivanoff sharing some of his tips for life as a writer. One of the useful tips was about the reading level of your writing.

Reading level is something I’m familiar with as a parent. I have a 9 year old with a reading level well beyond his years, in fact, his reading level is higher than that of his brother who is 2 years older than him! They have been tested with the Lexile framework at school.

As a writer, I knew it existed, but had no idea how to check what level my writing was. All I did was write then give it to my kids to read. If they didn’t understand words or phrases, then they’d tell me. They are pretty good at doing that. The down side is that they are both advanced readers, so, while it was a good indication of where they were at and whether they enjoyed the story, it’s not such a good indication on whether the reading level was suitable for the average 9 or 11 year old.

It turns out that the standard reading level tests is the Flesch-Kincaid readability tests. I’m sure Lexile would be based on this (at least I hope so as there is a cool tool that can help us authors find the Flesch-Kincaid level).

George was telling us that he is able to check the readability of his work through Word. I did a Google search and found that it was quite easy to check – once I got the instructions for the right version of Word.

To find your level, simply go to the options in the proofing tools and you can turn it on so that when you do a spelling and grammar check, you can get the Flesch-Kincaid level too.

Follow the links below for instructions:

I’m currently looking at some of my chapter books and am happy that they are falling in the reading level range that I was hoping for!

Edited to add: There are other standards for reading levels out there, and other tools too. I blogged about this one as I’d just found out about it. I haven’t tried any of the others… yet!

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  1. Very cool never knew you can do that. My Obi story came out at 3.9 and my next chapter book about 3.2 which is about where I pitched them. Thanks for the information!

  2. Thanks for the tip, Melissa! ๐Ÿ™‚ This one will come in very handy!

  3. Thanks Melissa! I was aware that you could check the writing/ reading levels, but was never sure which one to go with (at least in Australia) thanks for clarifying. You must be relieved that you were writing for the right level all along.

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