A reading level is an assessment of a person's reading ability. Specifically, it describes the grade level most compatible with someone based on how well she reads. Knowing how to determine your reading level is a useful skill because it will allow you to compare your reading ability to that of your peers. It will also help you make more informed decisions regarding how to improve your reading skills.

Visit the "Reading Assessment" web site listed in the Resources section below. A new web page will appear when you click on the link.

Scroll down the new page until you see the reading assessment table. The table is composed of 16 boxes, and each contains a list of eight letters or words.

Read the words inside each box from top to bottom, pronouncing each word out loud. Each successive box should get progressively harder as you move from left to right.

Continue reading the words until you make five consecutive pronunciation mistakes in a row.

Count the number of words you successfully completed before making the five mistakes.

Interpret the number of words you read in terms of reading level. The first number (found the tens place) is the grade level appropriate for your reading ability. The second number (found in the ones place) is the number of months into this grade level that would be appropriate. For example, if you read 52 words before making the five mistakes, this would mean that you have a reading ability equivalent to a fifth grader (derived from the 5 in 52) in his second month of the school year (derived from the 2 in 52).


A 1993 study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education found that the average adult reads at the eighth grade level.

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