FYI... how to figure out the reading level of a book.
My mom showed me this trick today, because I looked and looked for a book's level online (AR, Lexile, etc.), but never found one. She's been an adult education instructor for 25 years and often needs to find the reading level of an adult-appropriate book for a child-level reader.
Take any book, and type into Microsoft Word a paragraph or two each from the beginning, middle, and end of the book. The more you type, the more accurate it will be. (You could type the whole thing for one of those easy reader books.)
Click the spell-checker. If the box doesn't pop up, you'll have to purposely misspell something to get it to work.
When the spell check box pops up, click the "options" button in the bottom left.
Under the options pop-up, you'll see a long list of check boxes. Check the one that looks at the "readability" of the document.
Go back to the spell checker and click through the errors it gives you.
After it's done checking the document, a box will pop up with the stats for the page. At the bottom of that box is the "Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level". Sometimes this number is slightly higher than it should be, but for the most part, that's the grade level of the book. (So, for example, if it says "4.7", that means 4th grade, 7th month.)
(By the way, I'm using Word 2010. If you have something else, try looking for "readability" in the help menu or something... I dunno!)
Not all of them are way off, but boy every now and then it's like ???????? What? Some of it has to do with sentence length (number of words per sentence, punctuation marks, and I think maybe conjunctions) as well as word difficulty (number of syllables per word). I used to have to work with a by-hand manual method of this, where you had to count the number of sentences, number of syllables per hundred words and mark a location on a chart that would then tell you the reading level. Talk about TEDIOUS!
__________________ Lindina - American by Birth, Christian by the Grace of God! Mom to 2, G'amma to 3 - Teacher to 46 so far. Schooling Other People's Kids since 2001-02.