Taking a children's human rights approach: guidance

Guidance to provide information and resources to support public authorities and other organisations to implement a children’s human rights approach.

Annex B.

Top tips for developing easy read communication

Public authorities may consider the following tips when producing easy read communications. These are drawn from the European Commission guidance on creating child friendly versions of written materials. These tips may assist in developing written communication aimed at children and young people with a reading age of 10 and above:

Consider your approach

  • Take time to explore how children and young people in your audience prefer to receive information, particularly relating to their rights.
  • Plan how the easy read report will be shared, to reach your intended audience successfully. Explore the options available to you and consider the benefit of using multiple methods, e.g., hard/soft copies, digital content and the use of social media.
  • Consider providing non-text equivalents such as audio or British sign language versions to be inclusive of disabled children.
  • Identify other sources of information that you can signpost readers to if relevant.
  • Include a contact email address in case anyone reading the document has any questions.

Plan content and layout

  • Identify the content you want to include. What is the essential information? Prioritise key points. Plan layout, use of headings and sub-headings.
  • Think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Break your message down into sections and put these in the order children and young people should know them.
  • Ensure any hyperlinks are specific and meaningful to children.
  • Consider the needs and preferences of the intended audience. Avoid creating a document that is too long. Aim for one to four pages.


  • Use simple language and be concise, however accuracy should not be compromised. Short words with one, two or three syllables are best.
  • Consider whether translation services are required.
  • Think about the tone you want to promote (friendly, formal, enthusiastic) and the rhythm and pace of words and sentences.
  • Use active voice rather than passive voice.
  • Avoid jargon, abbreviations and metaphors where possible as these can cause confusion e.g., blue sky thinking.
  • Acronyms can be a barrier to people with no knowledge of the topic. Use full words not acronyms (if using acronyms remember to include a note of the words each letter represents when it is first used in the document).
  • Ensure accuracy. When working with children to create the report do not use children’s suggestions if this will cause the information to be misrepresented.
  • Resist any form of words which may come across as patronising, or risks ‘talking-down’ to your audience.
  • Consider adding a glossary at the end of the document to explain difficult or new words. Examples can be used to clarify meaning.

Style and formatting

  • Consider type of font, font size and use of space. Non-serif fonts such as Arial 14 is preferable. At least font size 14 should be used to be inclusive of disabled children. Left align text.
  • Avoid using italics or capitalised words.
  • Avoid long blocks of black and white text. Long blocks of text should be broken up with relevant images that add value to children’s experience and understanding of the document. Ensure that images are described below for blind or visually impaired people. Avoid using pictures simply for decorative purposes.
  • Sentences should be short and to the point.
  • Bullet points can be an effective alternative to block text.
  • Avoid italics and underlining.
  • Ensure good contrast between text and background e.g., black on pale yellow.
  • Reduce white space on pages as much as possible, use consistent line spacing and do not highlight text.
  • Avoid complex images.


  • Consider ways to ensure text is compatible with assistive technologies such as a screen reader e.g. using Microsoft Word templates.
  • Where children and young people feature in photography/ graphics, special attention should be paid to ensuring inclusivity of diverse groups less likely to be represented.[34]


Email: uncrcincorporation@gov.scot

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