Calculating the reading age for written material helps to guide students, parents and teachers toward age-appropriate learning activities. Reading-age tests frequently calculate the grade level of the material rather than a child's specific age. The grade-level indications allow materials to be more easily introduced into classroom settings.

Determine the reading age with the Power-Sumner-Kearl Formula by selecting a sample of 100 words and counting the number of sentences.

Divide 100 by the number of sentences for the length of the average sentence. Multiply that result by 0.0778. Write down the answer and label it "x."

Count the syllables in the sample and multiply the result by 0.0455. Write down the answer and label it "y." Add the answer "y" to "x" from paragraph 1. Write down the result and label it "z."

To find the grade reading level, subtract 2.2029 from "z." Calculate reading age by adding "z" to 2.7971.

Select a sample of 100 words and count the sentences. Divide 100 by the number of sentences to determine the length of the average sentence. Write down the result and label it "x."

Count how many words in the sample have more than three syllables. Divide that answer by 100 to find the percentage of large words used. Write down the result and label it "y."

Add "x" plus "y." Multiply the result by 0.4 to determine the grade reading level.

Select a sample of 100 words and count the sentences. Divide 100 by the sentence number. Multiply the answer by 1.015. Write down the result and label it "x."

Count the number of syllables. Multiply the answer by 0.846. Write down the result and label it "y." Add "x" plus "y." Subtract the result from 206.835.

The final answer will correspond to the Reading Ease Score levels. A score of 0 to 29 indicates the hardest level of "Very Difficult Post Graduate." The lowest reading level, requiring a score of 90 to 100, represents "Very Easy 4th to 5th Grade."

Open the document you want to check in Microsoft Word. Select the "Tools" menu and click "Options."

Select the "Spelling & Grammar" tab. Click the check box next to "Check grammar with spelling." Click the check box next to "Show readability statistics." Click "OK.."

On the "Standard" toolbar, click "Spelling and Grammar." The program will run a spell check before listing the readability. Click "Ignore All" to skip to the readability rating.