How Challenging Is That Online Text?

I grab a lot of texts online to use with students. I often wonder, “How challenging is this text? Will my students have trouble reading this text?” In the past, I’d rely on Google’s Advanced Search option that allowed me to search by reading level. Unfortunately, Google dumped this feature, so I’ve been on the hunt for a new way to assess online texts.

The Readability Test Tool is one option for educators. It allows you to test the readability of an entire web page or a chunk of text to see how challenging it is for readers.

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In the image below, I copied a chunk of text from a web page on the Great Depression.

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Below is the readability score for this chunk of text. It estimates the grade level and age of the reader who should be able to “easily” understand this text. It provides a range of scores for various tests and presents statistics about the text.

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I was unfamiliar with many of these scoring tools, so it was helpful to read the explanation below the text statistics to better understand what the Flesch-Kincaid readability score, for example, actually meant.

If other educators have found tools they use to assess how challenging an online text is, please post a comment!

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10 Responses to How Challenging Is That Online Text?

  1. Pingback: How Challenging Is That Online Text? #literacy #ed… | EducatorAl's Tweets

  2. Jennifer O. says:

    Thanks for the idea. I teach elementary, so it is difficult to find websites at my students’ reading levels. I have used the Lexile Analyzer at ( to help me level texts. There is a free registration part and a paid part if you want to use more features. There is a tutorial on the site that walks you through how to create a document that you can upload for analysis.

    • You’re welcome, Jennifer.

      I also use Lexile for books, but I was struggling to find a way to analyze online texts. I’ve never uploaded a text for analysis, but maybe I’ll try that too. Thanks for the suggestion!


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  7. Brian Stumbaugh says:

    Awesome! Thank you. In an age where we are encouraged to stretch students, it’s nice to have tools like these to give us more accurate choices.

  8. Carol Catoe Hinson says:

    Once upon a time we might have felt locked in to adopted texts, now many schools and districts do not have adoptions due to changes in curriculum and severe budget reductions.
    These analysis tools can help us fine tune and “grow” content reading skills. They’re a welcome addition to sources like and Encycolpedia Britannica online, which offer some levels with their materials.

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