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Creating documents in Easy Read

Introduction
The Easy Read format was created to help people with learning disabilities understand information easily.  People with learning disabilities need access to all information, not just disability-specific information.

Uses
Easy Read uses pictures to support the meaning of text; it can be used by a carer to talk through a communication with someone with learning difficulties so that they can understand it, such as information about attending a graduation ceremony or a function at the University.  Easy Read is often also preferred by readers without learning disabilities, as it gives the essential information on a topic without a lot of background information.  It can be especially helpful for people who are not fluent in English.

Easy Read compared to Clear English
All authors of government materials should write in Clear English and should understand the principles of Easy Read.  The following is an example of the difference between Easy Read and Clear English or Plain English:

Clear Plain English "Thank you for your letter asking for permission to put up posters in the library. Before we can give you an answer we will need to see a copy of the posters to make sure they won't offend anyone.”
Easy Read "Thank you for your letter about your poster. We need to see the poster before we put it up. This is because it must not offend anyone. Offend means to upset people.”

 

Top Tips for Writing Easy Read Documents

Things to think about before you start:

  • Who the information is for.
  • What they need to know.

Words:

  • Use short words.
  • Avoid putting more than one idea in a sentence.
  • Stick to concrete ideas.
  • Try to use I, we, you.
  • Try to use the present tense.
  • Try not to use jargon or long, hard words.
  • If you must use a hard word, explain what it means.

Numbers:

  • Write numbers in figures.

Length:

  • Write short sentences.
  • Keep your documents short.

Pictures:

  • Pictures should support the meaning of the words.
  • Pictures must be easy to understand.
  • Pictures can be drawings, photographs or other images.
  • Make pictures as big as possible.

Layout:

  • Use a large font size (at least 14 point).
  • Use plenty of white space.

Testing:

  • Once you have written your document read it out loud.  Can you get rid of more words?
  • Then ask someone who might use the document to read it.  If they struggle with parts of it, you need to make changes.

Further information:
Documents:

 

(Sources: Equality & Human Rights Commission, Office for Disability Issues, Scottish Accessible Information Forum)

Contact

Human Resources

University of St Andrews
The Old Burgh School

Abbey Walk
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 9LB
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0)1334 463096