Readability test – get thee to high school

Found this on Harold Jarche’s blog … It turns out that my blog has a high school reading level.

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 They don’t reveal the way in which this is calculated, which would have been nice.

And it brings back to mind many many many conversations I’ve had with colleagues and team mates … that we who design/develop corporate training programs have to write at a 7th to 8th grade reading level. That would be writing for 12-14 year olds.  And I’ve always heard this as though it were an absolute fact. But I’ve not really seen actual data … maybe it’s out there – but the folks who’ve touted this mantra-like rule haven’t shown it to me.

But what about this one … write at a level appropriate for the intended audience.

If they are indeed 7th-graders, then by all means write at a 7th-grade reading level. If the learners are mid-level to senior-level managers and leaders in a firm, then maybe – just maybe – you’d want to write at a level a bit higher than 7th-grade.  … Not to impress, mind you … but the audience is probably quite capable of reading and comprehending something around -oh, say, a 9th-grade or (dare I even say it?) 10th-grade reading level.

Heck! My kid (who is a real 7th-grader) is reading Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Not the greatest piece of literature, but there’s something slightly tricky about Victorian England English to a 21st century middle schooler.


About Rory

I make my home in the central part of the Garden State along with my family. When I'm not working as an Instructional Designer (focusing mostly on Web-Based learning ... and other eLearning technologies) or researching something, I'm found at home playing computer or video games. Among other things, I volunteer as a choir member and catechist for 8th graders at my parish.
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