Ever glance at an article and wonder how complicated it is to read? Or look at a whole heap of texts and wonder which are the most complicated? Are publications in your field of study more or less complicated to read than other fields? Or have you wondered whether a an 8th grader could read this blog post you just wrote?
There are a plethora of readability metrics available for us to implement, such as the Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid in the image. See Wikipedia for a background on the study of readability and the various available metrics.
In this post, I want to highlight some tools and resources you can use to measure readability metrics, including approximate grade-level requirements.
These are online tools that require no installation. These tools permit copy/pasting, uploading documents, and pointing to URLs. These tools do not provide free methods of batch calculations over multiple documents.
Open Source Python Packages
These packages allow for swift and super easy implementation of a wide variety of readability metrics. Most importantly, they do not have the same limitations as web applications. These are the tools you want to use for batch processing many files and for extremely large files.
- GitHub – shivam5992/textstat
- “Python package to calculate statistics from text to determine readability, complexity and grade level of a particular corpus.”
- Reusable script making use of textstat: DOWNLOAD
- Reads from the Excel file (user specified), calculates a wide variety of measurements on a particular field (user specified), and outputs a new tab in the Excel file containing the calculations per record.
- GitHub – joaopalotti/readability_calculator
- “Readability calculator is a simple program to estimate how skilled a reader must be to understand a piece of text. There is a large number of methods for that.”
Microsoft Outlook and Word
“When Outlook and Word finish checking the spelling and grammar, you can choose to display information about the reading level of the document, including readability scores according to the following tests:”
+ Flesch Reading Ease test
+ Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level test