Have you ever wanted to find the reading level of a newspaper or magazine article, website, or other such text? Have you ever, for the purpose of differentiation, re-wrote a science or social studies text in simpler language? Have you ever written a test or passage and wanted to know if the reading level was appropriate for your students? There are some ways for you to make that determination.
There are many readability measures out there. Gunning fog, Coleman-Liau, and Dale-Chall among others. Flesch-Kincaid may be the the most used in education. They all involve formulas involving word length, sentence length, syllables, and other variables. However, there is no need to grab a text and a calculator to check texts.
There are many websites offering tools to determine readability levels of texts. Many of these websites not only allow you to type or copy/paste text into a box for determination, but also will give a level for web pages when you enter the URL. I'm not sure how trustworthy they all are; I tried the same text in a few and got 1-3 level differences in some scores between sites. I found ReadabilityScore.com to be the best. It seemed to ME to be the most accurate with the scores. You can type or copy/paste text and enter URLs for free. For a donation of at least a dollar, you can upload documents to be checked. Other websites can do this, but ReadabilityScore.com gives you an average of the levels as well, which I find useful.
You can also use Microsoft Word to check Flesch-Kincaid readability grade level and ease of reading. I made a quick tutorial for how to set up MS Word to do this for you that can be downloaded at my TeachersPayTeachers store. It's free to download.