Readability tests are a measure of the ease of comprehension of a written text. The results are obtained solely through the analysis of word and sentence characteristics of the subject text and do not have the benefit of an actual statistical survey of human readers. Typical characteristics used in the analysis include number of words, number of syllables per word, sentence length, and number of sentences. The test may also compare words found within the subject text to a list of “common” words.
Information shown in the analysis sidebar
Results for the following readability tests are displayed:
New Dale Chall
Powers, Sumner, Kearl Write
Automated Readability Index
Flesch Reading Ease
Lexical Density Test
Why should you care about Readability Statistics?
The joyful comprehension of your work by a target audience is critical to success as a writer. Achieving this goal requires diligence and attention to detail on every page of your manuscript. The statistics provided in this report can be a useful benchmark in this regard.
The bottom line
Readability statistics can be a useful but blunt tool. The resulting scores provided are only as relevant as the data and statistics used as input. Many of the tests are not applicable to the genre and audience and the resulting scores/grade levels can be misleading.
That being said, when used in the right context, these analytic tools are a quick and efficient way to determine how well your audience will comprehend your work.