Write For Your Reader The Northwest Territories Literacy Council
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A Plain Language Handbook

Do a readability test.

A readability test tells you the grade level or reading level people should have to read and understand your document.

If your document is: Aim for:

Essential information for people who have less than 8 years of school or whose first language isn’t English.
Grade 5 to 6

Information for the general public that has new terms and concepts or specialized subject matter.
Grade 7 to 9

Specialized information for people who are familiar with the topic and who have good literacy skills.
Grade 10 +

Two readability tests are described here.

The first is the Fry Readability Test. Follow the directions and use the graph on page 30-31 to do this test.

The second is the Reading Effectiveness Tool. You need a computer and the internet to do this test. Test the main text. Don’t include titles, headings, and subheadings. Try to avoid sections done in point form or with step-by-step numbers.

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