Category Archives: Reading Levels

SMOG Readability Formula

Have you ever wondered what age group you write for? Some of the lines blur between children, YA and adults. While some are clear-cut and obvious others are not so much.

There are some clever formulas one can use to calculate your written words to the age group of the readers. One such format is the SMOG Readability Formula. In short it counts 10 consecutive sentences in the beginning, middle and at the end of your story. It counts every word with three or more syllables in the 30 sentences regardless how many time it appears. It adds that total number and then compares it to the SMOG Conversion Table so we can determine what grade level we are writing toward.

There are some rules one needs to remember. A sentence is any string of words that ends in a period, exclamation point or a question mark, Words that have hyphens count as one word. Proper nouns are counted as words. If you have numbers in your story read them out loud to see how many syllables they have. In long sentences that have colons or semicolons followed by a list count each part of the list with the beginning phrase of the sentences as one sentence each. You also should count abbreviations as if they were not. Do not include verbs ending in “ed” or “es” for that will make the word have a third syllable.

This will give the writer a good clue of where their book is geared toward. I have found this particular useful for my writings when the line between the ages are so close together it is hard to determine who to pitch to. There will be some exceptions to the rule. By the time I was in 3rd grade the books being read by me were the ones my sister in high school was reading. You will have kids who are more advanced and will not fit this profile. But for the most part it’s a good starting point

Don’t have time to do all of this? Well it got easier. The link below gives you an opportunity to cut and paste from your story and it will calculate for you where the readability is.

I am so glad these tools exist for us to take advantage off. This gives me one less thing to do which I happily embrace.