English

The Centre for Easy-to-Read

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We have several target groups including persons with intellectual disabilities, those suffering from dementia, autism or aphasia, people who are dyslexic or are having other reasons for their difficulty in reading and writing, people who are deaf from childhood, the elderly, immigrants, school children and reluctant readers in general. We function as a resource and competence centre. We can provide easy-to-read material or offer assistance in various questions relating to easy-to-read material.

We publish books and a newspaper "8 PAGES" under the slogan: "Easy-to-Read".

Parliamentary and governmental decisions

Our operation is a cultural-political and disability-political venture and is based on a unanimous government decision. The Government has drawn up our charter and appointed the board of directors. The board includes politicians, representatives of disability organizations and people who are professionally devoted to culture, media or marketing.

The operation is financed by income from sales and state grants. Our finances are examined by a chartered accountant.

About easy-to-read

The aim of easy-to-read publications is to write simply and understandably, but at the same time in an adult and varied manner, and to use a combination of text and pictures. To achieve this we try to take into consideration content, language, pictures and graphic layout.

Content

An easy-to-read text should have concrete content, usually with a simple story-line. Few people and places are involved. The course of events is usually described in chronological order, i.e. no jumps in time such as from present to past. Naturally the same criteria apply to easy-to-read texts as to other texts: if the reader considers the content to be interesting then it is easier to read the text. Also, if the reader has previous knowledge of the subject, the text will be easier to understand, and the reader may be able to read a more difficult level of language than otherwise.

Language

The language should also be concrete. Long, unusual words should be avoided, as well as expressions that may have two meanings. "He is a big actor" may mean that he is a large man or that he is well-known. Some of our readers often understand expressions in a concrete manner - i.e. that the actor is a large man. Neither do we use figurative language such as "castles in Spain" in easy-to-read texts, since such phrases can be interpreted literally.

We often choose to write two short sentences instead of using subordinate clauses. However, best practice has shown that a mixture of short and a bit longer sentences is the most easy-to-read. Too many very short sentences make the language more difficult, mainly because of the lack of causal relations that will often be the case. An example: It was raining. He stayed inside. He was happy. He read a book. Or: It was raining so he stayed inside and was happy reading a book. The latter may be easier to understand.
One cannot assume that all readers are aware of places and countries or of dates and figures.
Two examples:

In the country Saudi Arabia women are forbidden to drive a car.

About 100 thousand households were without electricity for many hours.

Pictures

Pictures are important in the easy-to-read concept. Concrete pictures should illustrate clearly what a thing looks like, without irrelevant details and strange angles. However, abstract pictures can also be used to express atmosphere or feelings. Other criteria apply in that case.

Layout

It is important for form and layout to be well thought-out. It is easier for the reader to absorb information if text and pictures are presented clearly and with much space.

Running text written with CAPITAL LETTERS or in italics is difficult to read. Many readers have difficulty in noticing full-stops and in reading long lines.
An easy-to-read text is thus often written with line-feeds at the end of each phrase. A new line starts at a natural point in the sentence, and always after a full stop. The reader can then make a pause at the proper place.

General framework

Over the years these rules have become more like a general framework. They are not to be taken too literally. An author of an easy-to-read text must - just like any author - use his or her intuition and linguistic sense. The author must imagine and relate to the readers / listeners in mind.

The easy-to-read publishing house (LL-förlaget)

Easy-to-read books are easy to read and easy to understand but the degree of difficulty varies from one book to another. Easy-to-read books attempt to combine ease of understanding with quality. The books are produced by our own publishers, LL-förlaget.

Many easy-to-read books are illustrated. The pictures make the text easier to understand and strengthen the understanding of the content.
About 25 books are published every year, both books written directly in easy-to-read and adaptations of classics. They may be novels, short stories, detective stories, poetry anthologies, photographic books, technical books, etc. Just over 1 000 books have been published so far.

Easy-to-read books are presented in the magazine, "Boktidningen Lättläst", which is published twice a year. The books can be purchased through our mail-order shop, through online bookshops or in regular bookshops. Easy-to-read books are also available on loan at libraries.
www.ll-forlaget.se

8 PAGES - easy-to-read news

8 PAGES is a newspaper which is issued once a week. 8 PAGES contains news from Sweden and other countries, sport, culture, etc. - just like any other newspaper. But 8 PAGES tells what is happening in an easy-to-understand manner. The texts are short and there are always many pictures in the newspaper. The type-face is larger than in other newspapers.

One can also read daily news from 8 PAGES on their internet site: http://www.8sidor.se/ The site is updated every weekday.
8 PAGES is a subscription newspaper. It is not sold separately. One can subscribe to a reading of the paper and the articles of the web newspaper are also presented in readings on the site. 8 PAGES is non-political and is not linked to any organization.

Commissions accepted

The Easy-to-Read Commission Service accepts commissions to produce easy-to-read versions of governmental committee publications and other material for public authorities, organizations and for anyone else needing to have texts adapted. The Commission Service can take care of editorial work as well as production and distribution.

Course activities

The Easy-to-Read Commission Service offers short courses in and about easy-to-read. Twice every year courses are arranged for different professional groups. If there is sufficient interest these courses can be offered at other times. Information about the courses can be ordered from the Commission Service.

Reading representatives

Marketing newspapers and books to people with disabilities and others with major reading difficulties is a time-consuming task. They themselves do not seek information and are not used to the idea of newspapers and books being something for them. Neither do relatives nor staff always recognize the need of news and literature for people who can hardly read themselves.

First of all attitudes must be influenced. An interest in reading must be awakened. The Centre for Easy-to-Read has therefore created a system of reading representatives. These representatives are primarily recruited among staff in supported housing, at day centres and in homes for the elderly.

The tasks of the reading representatives are to stimulate interest in reading, to arrange reading periods with reading aloud, to collaborate with the librarians and to arrange visits to libraries.

In the project "Reading Power" volunteers and next-of-kin have been inspired and educated to read aloud to people with dementia at care homes and day centres for people with dementia and also for those who are still living at home. This takes part in collaboration with reading representatives among the staff.

Information and marketing

Information and marketing are important parts of our assignment. It is necessary to try to reach the target groups in various ways. Often intermediaries are used. Important intermediaries are teachers, librarians, relatives and staff working with people who have functional disabilities.
All our products are on show at a permanent exhibition in our Stockholm office. Anyone interested is welcome to book a time to visit.

Centrum för lättläst | Långholmsgatan 27 | Box 9145 | 102 72 Stockholm
Telefon: 08-640 70 90 | Telefax: 08-642 76 00 | E-post: info@lattlast.se

The Centre for Easy-to-Read is working for all people's right to access to news, information and literature appropriate to their needs and abilities.

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