Write for Kids in Form 1

30 July 2009

      Writing clearly can sometimes be a challenge.  You don’t want to make readers work hard to understand what you’ve written – especially if they’re non-native English speakers.  But you also don’t want to write so simplistically that you insult your reader’s intelligence.

     How can you achieve the right balance? 

     The answer is to write like your reader is a Form 1 student – or even Primary 6.  That’s right – Form 1 (grade 6 for you Americans).  No matter what level of education your reader has reached, they’ll be grateful if your writing is at a lower level.  Honest!

     If you’re concerned about writing too simplistically, take a look at last week’s post (So just how does a 21st century human sound?).  It’s very short – so read it again and try to guess the grade level I wrote it at – from Primary 1 to post-graduate level.  (I’ll give you the answer later.)


How to check your writing level

      There are two easy ways to check the grade level of your writing. 

     One is to cut and paste a chunk of text into the space provided at this site: http://bluecentauri.com/tools/writer/sample.php.  Then click ‘Analyse’ and you’ll automatically get a rating of the document’s readability, including the grade level.

     Another way to check the grade level of a document is to use the ‘Readability Statistics’ on Microsoft Word.  To do that,

  1. Go to ‘Tools’ and open ‘Spelling and Grammar’.
  2. Click ‘Options’ and tick the box ‘Show Readability Statistics’.
  3. Open a text and do a spell check on it. 

     When the spell check is finished, you’ll see a box with various types of information, including the ‘Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level’ at the bottom of the list.


 What level was last week’s post written at?

      OK, so what did you guess for the grade level of last week’s post?  Was it as low as Primary 6 (USA grade 5 equivalent)?  (I was actually a bit surprised by that myself!)

     Check out the readability of some of your own writing this week – and in the comments tell us what you’ve learned about it.


BTW – this post’s readability is rated at Primary 5 (US grade 4).

Copyright 2014 DeGolyer Associates Ltd |  Contact Deborah at:  writewithtaste@me.com