Using Office 2007 to Determine Readability
In addition to checking spelling and grammar, MS Word will also check reading level.
Step One - Open Word and so you can make sure that the Readability option is active.
Step Two - Put your mouse on the Office button in the top left corner of the window and click one time on the button.
Step Three - From the bottom right corner of the window that opens, select Word Options.
Step Four - Select the Proofing button and in the section titled When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, click in the box beside Show readability statistics if there is no check mark already in the box.
Step Five - Close the Word Options box.
Step Six - Select some text to paste into a Word document. I went to a Glencoe site about Reading Comprehension and Considerate Text which is found at http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/subject/considerate_text.phtml. I copied a paragraph, pasted it into Word and then checked spelling. No, I didn't suspect that Glencoe has made spelling errors, that is how you get a readability report.
Step Seven - Go to the Review tab and select Spelling and Grammar. If there are errors in the text you selected select Ignore. You will see the readability statistics when the spell and grammar check is finished.
The report I got shows a reading level of 9.3. That level of readability is appropriate for the article that I selected. The report is shown below.
Step Eight - for a final test of this procedure, I selected a released reading test posted by the state of Texas. The test is one that was given to Fifth Grade Texas students in 2003. You can see a copy of the test at a student assessment page on a Texas page. http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/resources/online/2003/grade5/read.htm [Note: This expired link is available through the Wayback Machine Internet Archive. If the page doesn't load quickly click on Impatient? at the bottom right of the page.] Once again, I copied text, pasted it into Word and did a spell check. Since My dictionary did not contain the name of the child (Hastin) or his elephant (Sandos) I had to select Ignore several times. After the spell check was complete, I got the report below:
For a test designed to be taken by Fifth Grade students, a readability level of 4.5 is appropriate. Way to go, Texas, you passed!