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According to Research for Practice by Elizabeth H. Winslow and Ann F. Jacobson, The American Journal of Nursing, Vol. 98, No. 7 (Jul., 1998), pp. 55+57 www.jstor.org...
"Summarizing several studies done in the United States and Canada, the average reading skill level was estimated to be at around the 8th to 9th grade (University of Utah Health Sciences Center). However, this same study found that about one in five adults had a reading skill level at the 5th grade level or below." www.humanfactors.com...
But it's interesting to note that:
many newspapers and magazines are written to a 9th grade level;
USA Today, New York Times, and the New Yorker are written to a 10th grade level;
The Times of India is the least readable, at a 15th grade level.
John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Michael Crichton, Stephen King, and Clive Cussler write at a 7th grade level;
Romance novels are often written at a 5th grade level