Posted by: nancyisanders | October 24, 2014

Flesch-Kincaid Readability Score

A tool that many authors use comes built in with Microsoft Word and gives you the Readability Statistics of your text. If you highlight a portion of text and run the spellcheck feature, after it is done checking the spelling, a small box pops up listing the Readability Statistics. Under Readability, it lists the Flesch Reading Ease and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. Basically, this shows the reading level of that portion of text. For instance, if it scores a 6.2 on the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, students reading at grade level in the second month of sixth grade should be able to read it successfully.

Just a word of caution when using the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: It should not be your definitive measuring tool when working with reading levels in the elementary grades. It does not work entirely accurately when analyzing very short sentences, as most sentences are that can be found in the earliest beginning readers. Even though I will use this tool as a reference, especially when evaluating long portions of text for the intermediate or high school leveled readers, I refer mainly to the Children’s Writer’s Word Book when writing beginning readers and chapter books for elementary students.
-excerpt from Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Beginning Readers and Chapter Books, pages 47-48

And an extra note:
If you run your spellcheck and the Readability Statistics box does NOT show up after it is done, you need to change your preferences.

With your document open in Word,
On your top toolbar, click on “Word”
From the dropbox, click on “Preferences.”
This window pops open:

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 11.21.18 AM

Under Authoring and Proofing Tools, click on SPELLING AND GRAMMAR.
Another window pops open:

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 11.20.55 AM

Be sure you have a check mark under GRAMMAR next to:


  1. In case anybody else has Word 2003 like me and is frustrated because your computer doesn’t have the things mentioned in the directions above, here are alternate directions.

    With your document open in Word,
    On your top toolbar, click on “Tools,”
    From the dropbox, click on “Options.”
    Then click on “Spelling and Grammar.”
    At the bottom, under Grammar, you need to click on “Show readability statistics.”
    But you can’t click on that, unless you’ve also got “Check grammar with spelling,” so be sure that’s clicked, too.

    Then you should be set to go. 🙂

    • Wow, Ev, THANK YOU so much for sharing this. This is soooooo helpful! What a gem you are.

  2. I use pages on a Mac Pro, then convert to “word” to send out. Do you know of any program there? I searched with no avail, but hopefully you know something!!! I used to used the Flesch-Kincaid with my old pc, and loved it. Thanks Nancy for all you offer, all the time.

  3. Thanks for these detailed instructions. I have found that a few words like names can completely change the readability statistics. I’ve substituted a short word like Sam or cat for longer names and words and the levels go down.

  4. Here’s another site you can use also.

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