One-Minute Book Reviews

April 29, 2009

Late Night With Jan Harayda — How to Find Out How Dumbed-Down a Book Really Is

Filed under: Late Night With Jan Harayda,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 10:53 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

You know how I reported back in 2006 that Mitch Albom is writing at a third-grade reading level in For One More Day, according to the Flesch-Kincaid readability statistics on Microsoft Word? I’ve since posted the levels of other books, including Stephenie Meyer’s The Host. And it’s always – shall we say? – enlightening to learn how dumbed-down some books really are. It’s also time-consuming: To find a reading level, I have to type passages from a book into my computer, then run the spell-checker or paste the text into a site that has a measuring tool other than Flesch-Kincaid’s.

So I was delighted to learn from a visitor about the site for the Accelerated Reader progress-monitoring software, which lists many popular books and their reading levels. The AR site seems to focus on books schools might use, so you can’t turn to it for the reading level of anything on your nightstand. But if you compute these levels as often as I do, this one could delay the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome for a couple of years.

“Late Night With Jan Harayda” is an occasional series of posts that appear after 10 p.m. Eastern Time and do not include reviews, which typically appear early in the day.

© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. Sorry I didn’t mention AR to you before – I’ve worked with it since at least 1997. You are correct about it focusing “on books schools might use” because the market for their software IS schools. They don’t provide reading levels for most adult books since they’re not likely to be able to sell many tests for those to schools.

    Comment by speedytexaslibrarian — May 1, 2009 @ 10:53 pm | Reply

    • Still glad to have your perspective, though, because I had a chance to check only a sampling of the books on it. And parents seem so interested in this topic.

      I did that post partly because nearly every day visitors come to this site looking for reading material for a specific grade level. So I know they’ll be interested in what you and other librarians or teachers have to say. Thanks!

      Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — May 2, 2009 @ 12:56 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: