Reading Grade Level and Readability of Printed Cancer Education Materials

Judy Singh

ONF 2003, 30(5), 867-870. DOI: 10.1188/03.ONF.867-870

Purpose/Objectives: To analyze cancer brochures to estimate their reading level and assess their readability.

Design: Quantitative.

Sample: 10 cancer brochures published by various cancer organizations.

Methods: SMOG was used to estimate reading grade level of the brochures; the Readability Assessment Instrument (RAIN) was used to analyze the brochures in terms of 14 variables that affect comprehension. Interrater reliability was computed for reading grade level and readability level.

Main Research Variables: Reading grade level and readability.

Findings: Reading grade level of the brochures ranged from 9-15. The RAIN analysis showed that the number of variables incorporated across the 10 brochures ranged from 12-14, and the number of variables reaching readability criteria ranged from 6-8.

Conclusions: Cancer education materials are written at levels that may be too high for the average reader. These materials also may be difficult to understand because of the way they are written. Materials need to be written so that they match the reading levels of patients with cancer and the general public and incorporate more of the variables that affect comprehension so that readers can understand them easily.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses use written education materials to inform patients about their cancer diagnoses. They can conduct a comprehensive analysis of cancer brochures using SMOG and RAIN and then, if needed, use this information to revise the brochures so that they can be understood easily. If possible, patients who are going to be using the materials should be involved in the revision process.

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