Date Published: Jun 1, 2016
Source: 
Journal of Disability Policy Studies
Authors: 
Nagro, S.A. & Stein, M.L.
Volume: 
27
Issue: 
1
Page Numbers: 
13-21

Effective communication is essential for successful school–family partnerships. Written communication is most common due to the efficiency of written documents, but challenges include assuring the information disseminated to parents is accessible based on readability, clarity, complexity, and structure particularly for parents of students with disabilities and parents with low levels of literacy. The purpose of this review was to understand to what extent written communications intended to inform parents, particularly parents of students with disabilities, were accessible given recommendations regarding appropriate readability levels and document structure. Results from eight studies, published over 30 years, evaluated 461 documents and showed divergent trends in recommended and actual reading levels where written communication became less accessible over time. Recommended readability levels ranged from 5th to below 9th grade, yet actual readability levels were almost 11th grade on average. Implications specific to the readability and accessibility of written communication are discussed. [article abstract]