For those of us that write kid lit, especially at the chapter level and below, it’s essential to understand reading levels. Unfortunately, there are nearly a dozen different scales you can use to “grade” your story. Additionally, how do you know what makes a story a higher or lower level, are your edits even working?
So what’s a writer to do?
Let’s tackle the second question first. There are few things you can actively look for to make your story more readable.
- Sentence length. The longer the sentence the higher the grade level.
- Word choices. Can you use a simpler word in place of a more complicated word.
These two things will go a long way in bringing down your grade level. That brings me to that first question. The short answer is I don’t know which scale is best. If you want to dig into it more you can check out how libraries place books HERE.
Thankfully, I was tipped off with another tool this week. It’s called the Hemingway Editor. Copy in your text into the free web version and not only will it give you a grade level but it will also highlight your difficult sentences, incorrect grammar, and even adverbs.
I hope you find this as helpful as I do.