I just decided to use the Flesch-Kincaid metric for all my unpublished novels, and they all have a 5th Grade Reading Level. Is this good? I remember doing some final revisions of them all and I think the reason for the low grade level is because of my shortening of sentences. But my question to you all is this, should authors strive to edit their works so they can be understood by 5th and 6th Graders?

  • No offense to young readers, but if was the case, all books would be titled "XXX for dummies".
    – Alexander
    Feb 6, 2020 at 19:31

2 Answers 2


That just means you use more short words than longer words, and have shorter sentences, right? In an of itself, that is not enough information to determine whether a story is worth reading or not for adults. You do you! If you're concerned about it, look for places where you could be clearer if you used more specific wording (which may be harder to read for school children)

  • I just use it as a tool but I don't rely on it. I personally believe that actually editing a manuscript does my writing wonders. I must edit for style/syntax, story, logic/consistency, etc, etc and then I can edit for sentence structure/length to maximize readability. This is the way to go.
    – user42900
    Feb 6, 2020 at 13:29

It depends on your target audience, right? If your writing is for elementary/middle schoolers, then yes, probably. But for high schoolers and above, it's okay to have it be complicated.

So consider who you want to read your stuff, and then edit accordingly. This can affect how you revise.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.