I USED TO WRITE FORMYSELF!•What I would want to know•The way I was taught•To demonstrate my skills • organized • thoughtful • grammatically correct • no spelling errors.
MY STUDENTS OFTENFAILED TO UNDERSTAND(OR REMEMBER)WHAT I HAD WRITTEN
I BECAME MORE AWARE THATPeople do not READ the way we think that they do.They scan documents: Jump aroundLook for important or relevant words They QUIT if bored or confusedThey often ignore a large percentageof the information later in the document IF THEY READ IT AT ALL!
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?Can’t I just tell them it isrequired?
PEOPLE DON’T READBECAUSE THEY …Have “better” things to doHave different perspectivesAre confused by complex structureAre unfamiliar with jargon ridden language.Are affected by limited : • vision • mobility • ability to pay attention
U.S. REHABILITATION ACTOF 1973Prohibits discriminationon the basis of disability.
SECTION 504"No otherwise qualified [sic] individualwith a disability in the United Statesshall, solely by reasonof his/her [sic] disability,be excluded from the participation in,be denied the benefits of,or be subjected todiscriminationunder any program or activityreceiving federal financial assistance."
NOT A BIG DEAL….How many people are therewho have a disabilitythat would limit their abilityto read a document?
DISABILITIESREPORTED BY STUDENTType of Disability %Learning disabilities 45.7%Mobility or orthopedic impairments 13.9%Health impairments 11.6%Mental illness or emotional disturbance 7.8%Hearing impairments 5.6%Blindness and visual impairments 4.4%Speech or language impairments 0.9%Other impairments 9.1%
DISABILITIES NOTREPORTED BY STUDENTS?Common disabilities: Too tired Too busy Too stressedTo think clearly & attend to tasks.
HOW CAN I BE SURE….I am communicating effectively?I am giving all studentsan equal opportunity to learn?I am not unintentionallycreating barriers?
THE SOLUTIONResearch oncreating informationthat is accessibleand understandablefor the widest possible varietyof people.
STEP 2Ask yourself •“What are the questions someone should ask?”Then, at each point •“What is needed to continue?”
STEP 3Put informationin an orderthat will• Answer frequently asked questions FIRST• Build information
SAMPLE:ASSIGNMENT ORDERWhat is the name of the assignment?When is the assignment due?What am I supposed to learnfrom the assignment?What resources do I needto complete the assignment?What should I do first? Second? . . .How do I know thatthe assignment is complete?
STEP 4Continue editingthe documentto eliminateCross out contentthat is not needed.essential forcompletion of the task.
STEP 5IF APPROPRIATE…Number the partsin the orderthat they should becompleted.