• People with reading comprehension problems and other difficulties need the texts to be adapted to their needs.
  • Easy reading is a method that transforms information and makes it understandable to everyone.

Reading is, in addition to a pleasure that many share, a right that allows us to communicate and interact with people and with our environment. Unfortunately, not everyone can access textual information with the same ease. On the one hand, there are those who present permanent difficulties —intellectual disability, neuropsychological disorders, autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, aphasia…— and, on the other, there are those who face temporary difficulties, such as those who have learned to read and write late. , immigrants who still do not master the language of their new residence or young people whose schooling process has been deficient. In all these cases, having a book in front of you is not synonymous with understanding what is written, since there is a barrier between them and the text.. The distance that separates them from understanding what they read is not insurmountable thanks to the existence of easy reading. Below we will tell you what it consists of and how to create content based on its rules.

What is easy reading?

Easy reading is, as defined by the Spanish Association for Standardization, a “method that includes a set of guidelines and recommendations relating to the writing of texts, the design and layout of documents and the validation of their comprehensibility , designed to make information accessible to people with reading comprehension difficulties”.

In short, it is a way of adapting texts to bring them closer to those who do not understand them as they are formulated. To do this, emphasis is placed on its writing, design, layout, typography and other variables that may be an obstacle for the reader. The texts suitable for easy reading transcription are not only books, but also all kinds of documents, brochures, web pages, agendas and any information in written format.

This methodology arose in Sweden more than half a century ago. In 1968 the Swedish Education Agency created the Easy Reading Center, an organization that published the first book that followed these guidelines that same year. In the seventies it began to expand in the Nordic countries, but it would not reach Spain until 2002, when the Easy Reading Association was founded in Barcelona. Since then, this system has been growing little by little in our country and more and more organizations and entities have become aware of the need to implement it.

How does a text adapt to easy reading?

Easy reading analyzes the material and, to make it accessible, rewrites and restructures it taking into account the rules and recommendations contained in the European Standard UNE 153101 Ex. Easy Reading. The rules are as set out below.

The font must be clear, neat and free of frills, only in this way will the reader be able to interpret the characters without the danger of falling into error.

The content  must be organized. The information in the text must be displayed in a structured and orderly manner so that the user can follow the thread of what is being conveyed.

The sentences must be short and simple. The longer the sentence, the more difficult it will be for you to fully understand it. Therefore, the message has to be divided into different sentences to facilitate its assimilation. Likewise, it is necessary to avoid the use of negative phrases, since they make the information more complex and can even make it incomprehensible. In the sentences it is necessary to prevent the appearance of metaphors or confusing comparisons that could hinder the reading.

The words must be easy to understand. You have to use as simple a vocabulary as possible; with this we make sure that the information is being correctly interpreted by the receiver. At the same time, it is important to limit the excessive use of numbers, and when numbers are used, write them as numbers and not as words.

It is highly recommended to include images or pictograms , as long as they are related to the text and serve as visual support.

Once the adaptation has been carried out, the text must be validated , that is, determine if it is understandable or not. To reach a final conclusion, it has to be read by people with reading comprehension difficulties; they will be the ones who decide if it is a valid easy reading or not. If it finally meets all the recommendations and has received the go-ahead from the users, the text can be stamped with the European Easy Reading logo that distinguishes it from those that are not.

Finally, it is necessary to emphasize that easy reading is not the same as using childish or too colloquial language. The method is not intended to “infantilize” the text, but to take the information that is given, rewrite it in clear words, restructure it and eliminate everything that makes it confusing and incomprehensible.