April 30, 2017

Resources on readability

Websites, books and tools

Resources on readability

Learn to more about measuring and improving readability.

2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (PDF)

The U.S. Department of Education’s study is the most comprehensive, statistically reliable source on literacy in the United States. Also see the 1993 results.

Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please

Law professor Joseph Kimble’s treatise on legalese makes the case for plain language and includes dozens of case studies showing that plain language saves money and time and drives people to act more effectively than convoluted prose.

The Basics of Plain Language

William H. Dubay,,” Impact Information: Plain Language Services, 2005

The Principles of Readability (PDF)

Learn about U.S. literacy studies and research on readability and readability formulas from William H. Dubay, principal of Impact Information.

Smart Language (PDF)

William H. DuBay’s introduction to adult literacy surveys, research on readability and readability formulas.

Unlocking Language: The Classic Readability Studies (PDF)

Read the classics, the L.A. Sherman to the Flesch formulas, collected and curated by Impact Information’s William H. DuBay.

Working with Plain Language (PDF)

William H. DuBay’s introduction to the principles of plain language and guidelines for matching your text with the reading skill of the audience

Impact Information

Readability expert William H. DuBay’s blog

  • Write for Readability

    If you write at the 11th grade level, 97% or more of U.S. adults won’t be able to understand your copy, according to the Department of Education’s latest adult literacy test.

    Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie's concise writing master class on Aug. 17-18 in San FranciscoAt Cut Through the Clutter — a two-day concise-writing master class on Aug. 17-18 in San Francisco — you’ll dive into the results of this massive worldwide literacy study to get a reality check on who’s really getting your messages and at what level they read.

    And you’ll find out how to write easy-to-read messages that get more people to read your piece, read more of it, read it faster, understand it better and remember it longer. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

    • Save up to 40% of the cost of business communications by making them easier to read. (FedEx, for instance, saved $400,000 a year by rewriting operations manuals.)
    • Increase reading by up to 75% by making one simple change to your copy.
    • Use a cool tool (it’s free!) to measurably improve readability.
    • Analyze your copy for 34 readability metrics — and leave with quantifiable targets, tips and techniques for improving each one.
    • Measure, monitor, manage and report readability — your No. 1 tool for making your messages more effective.

    Learn more about the Master Class.

    Register for Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie's concise writing master class on Aug. 17-18 in San Francisco


    Browse all upcoming Master Classes.

    Would you like to hold an in-house Cut Through the Clutter workshop? Contact Ann directly.

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