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Toolkit Part 4: Guidelines for Writing

This page links you to the downloads for Toolkit Part 4, Understanding and using the "Toolkit Guidelines for Writing".  These guidelines apply to writing various types of material intended for use in printed formats by culturally diverse audiences that include people with low literacy skills.

Part 4 of the Toolkit consists of four chapters:

  1. Guidelines for content of your written material
    • Can readers tell at a glance what the material is for?
    • What do the readers want and need to know?
    • Is the content culturally appropriate?
    • Repeat new concepts and summarize the most important points.
    • Is the content accurate and up to date?
    • How much information should you include?
    • Does the material tell you who produced it and give a publication date?
  1. Guidelines for organization (grouping, sequencing, and labeling the content)
    • Pace readers through the material by grouping it into meaningful chunks.
    • Put the information in an order that works well for readers.
    • Use plenty of headings and subheadings.
    • Make headings specific and informative.
    • Use reference devices to help readers navigate through the material.
  1. Guidelines for writing style
    • Write in a conversational style, using the active voice.
    • Make the sentences simple and relatively short.
    • Be direct, specific, and concrete.
    • Give the context first, and incorporate definitions into the text.
    • Create cohesion.
    • Use words that are familiar and culturally appropriate.
    • Use technical terms only when readers need to know.
    • Write as simply as you can.
  1. Guidelines for engaging, motivating, and supporting your readers
    • Does the material have a positive and friendly tone?
    • Use devices to get readers actively involved with the material.
    • Are instructions specific and culturally appropriate?
    • Do readers trust the information sources?
    • Can readers relate to the health statistics you give?
    • Does the material say how to get help or more information?

To view some or all of the chapters for Toolkit Part 4, click on the downloads listed below.  You are also allowed to save or print a copy of these downloads from your personal computer.