Reading ages

Bernard Orsman at NZ Herald reports:

reports need to target a reading age of 13 and be fewer than five pages long to stop people falling to sleep, a senior council officer says in an email to her underlings.

Very sensible.

“All writing, whether in reports, letters or memos needs to be in plain English. You need to target a reading age of around 13.”

When writing reports, Ms Stokes stressed the need for brevity and context for new councillors and local board members “just in case the rest of your report doesn’t get read … which, to be honest, is quite likely”.

Not true for all, but definitely for some. It reminds me of the stories Nat Ministers would tell of the early 1990s Cabinet when Winston would turn up to Cabinet with his papers still in his sealed bag, unread.

Whau Local Board chairman Derek Battersby said Ms Stokes was right to point out the need for concise and clear reports, but it was derogatory to typecast elected representatives as 13-year-olds.

She didn’t. She said aim for a reading age of 13. There is a difference. I believe some media target a reading age of 10 – 12, so a reading age of 13 for Councillors is actually quite ambitious.

I won’t comment on the rumour that Cr Brewer has asked for his papers to be done as illustrated comics 🙂

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