‘Reading Level’ requires that users with nine years of schooling can read your content.


All of your users need to be able to read your content. That means you need to write with a range of people in mind, from a College Professor to someone straight out of school.

The key is to write as simply as you can, in clear and plain language, as this will help users with reading and comprehension difficulties. 

The generally agreed level to aim for is someone with nine years of schooling, starting from primary education. 

How to Pass ‘Reading Level’

  • Write content that a person with 7-9 years of schooling can understand by:
    • Writing the content so someone with no more than nine years of school can understand you (that’s nine years from their first day at school, so no college or further education).
    • Adding summaries, images and diagrams to content to help explain meaning.
    • Breaking up content with well-organised sections and headings.
  • Provide a link to supplemental content that further explains complex content.


  • You can never write something that every human on the planet will understand.
  • Short sentences are easiest to understand.
  • Stick to one topic per paragraph and one thought per sentence.
  • Avoid slang, jargon and idioms.
  • Use common words.
  • Write how people speak.
  • Use bullet points.
  • Use active, not passive, language (for example, ‘The words were written by Luke’ is passive, but ‘Luke wrote the words’ is active).

‘Reading Level’ Exceptions

You don’t need to worry about using correct names, even if they are complicated or hard to read. Names of things like people, films, books and companies all might be hard to read, but they are beyond your control.

See Also

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I'm Luke, I started Wuhcag in 2012 to help people like you get to grips with web accessibility. Check out my book, 'How to Meet the WCAG 2.0'.

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