Clear and effective communication is essential for City agencies to achieve their missions. However, the messages we want to communicate are often complicated and it is not always easy to reach our intended audience.
Approximately 25 percent of New York City adults 21 and over do not speak English well. Another 15 percent did not complete high school and, therefore, have reading levels well below the equivalent of 9th grade.
However, many government documents are written in English and at the 8th or 9th grade level or above.
The same can be said for private sector organizations and their communications with the public.
The Mayor’s Office of Adult Education and Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs created guidelines to help you create documents that are clearly written, easily and accurately translated, and understandable by your intended audience.
They are not concrete rules that must be applied without discretion or judgment. On the contrary, the guidelines assume that you are a skilled writer and that your agency will use them to build on the successes you have already achieved.