Thursday, November 23, 2006


Whether you're writing a report, letter or making a powerpoint presentation, to be successful you'll have to tune your message to the adressed target group.

The two most important issues to tackle are 'readability' and 'text-level'.

The Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test is a simple test to measure the readability and level of your text.

There are two simple test formulae:

Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test

Flesch Reading Ease Score

FRES = 206.835 – (1.015 x ASL) – (84.6 x ASW)

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level

FKGL = (.39 x ASL) + (11.8 x ASW) – 15.59

ASL = average sentence length (number of words divided by the number of sentences)
ASW = average number of syllables per word (number of syllables divided by number of words)

Texts with a FRES-score of 90-100 are easily understandable by an average 5th grader and scores of 0-30 are best understood by college graduates.
Some examples of readability index scores of magazines:
- Reader's Digest Magazine :FRES = 65
- Time magazine: FRES = 52
- Harvard Law Review: FRES = 30

The FRES-test has become a U.S. governmental standard. Many government agencies require documents or forms to meet specific readability levels. Most states require insurance forms to score 40-50 on the test.

It's easy to test your text online or even in a Microsoft Word-Document.

This text resulted in scores: FRES = 38 and FKGL = 11.

So remember: Checking readability helps, and will turn you into a better writer.

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