NICHCY’s eNews You Can Use

Welcome to News You Can Use, the monthly enewsletter of the National Dissemination Center. Browse the current newsletter and those from the past year. ______________________________ 2013 September 2013 | NICHCY's Last Newsletter August 2013 |  Back to school July 2013 |  Here's how to... June 2013 |  Summer Fun and Continued Learning May 2013 |  NICHCY's Dirty Dozen April 2013 |  Getting Ready for IEP Season! March … [Read more...]

Tools for Disseminators

As of September 2013The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities is pleased to post the resources that have emerged from the Dissemination Initiative.Disseminating for Impact seriesQuick Tips for Disseminators seriesA Guide to Using Facebook in DisseminationTipsheet: Writing PlainlyTipsheet: Steal These Strategies!This entire section of NICHCY's websiteNICHCY's Dissemination PlanWriting for the WebGoogle Analytics 101The Evaluation … [Read more...]

Writing Plainly

March 2011 | Links updated, August 2012PDF versionHard writing makes easy reading.                      ~~An old adage.Plain language writing is reader-focused writing. But what makes something plain language?The Center for Plain Language defines “plain” in terms of people’s behavior. Can the audience for the material quickly and easily:find what they needunderstand what they findact appropriately on that understanding? (1)In 1998, … [Read more...]

Writing for the Web

August 2011 Is your website one of your project's most valuable ways of disseminating information? If so, this page will give you 6 tips for writing content that engages and motivates your web visitors---and, most importantly, helps them find the information they're looking for. The tips are: Understand how people read on the web Help readers skim and scan Put the essential message first Chunk your information Use headings and subheadings Write … [Read more...]

Helping Readers Skim and Scan

August 2011Most people don't read through the content we put on our websites. They skim and scan the pages, "taking in headings, the beginnings of paragraphs, and first words of sentences." (1)  They're looking for something that strikes their attention or matches the question or need they have.  If they find it, they dig in and read more carefully.To help our web visitors find what they're looking for, we can create webpages that are easy to scan. … [Read more...]

Putting Your Essential Message First

August 2011 Help web visitors get the point of each of your webpages fast: Load the opening paragraph with the essential message of the page. The web is action-packed, and people are in a hurry. Eye-tracking studies have shown that users pay the most attention to the content they see first---which would be our opening paragraphs. Use the inverted pyramid approach Suggestions for long pages Use the Inverted Pyramid Approach This style … [Read more...]

How People Read on the Web

August 2011 | Links updated, August 2012Understanding how people read on the web and search for information can directly influence how we design our webpages and websites. One of the most influential researchers into web reading behavior has been Jakob Nielsen, who sums up his findings like this:How Users Read on the Web They don't. (1)The truth is, people are going to skim and scan all the lovely content you've written, looking for something (a … [Read more...]

Chunking Your Content

August 2011 Chunking your web content into small paragraphs helps your web visitors scan for the information they're looking for. Well-written paragraphs on the web: have only 1 main point start with that main point are less than 100 words long Why Small Chunks of Info Suit Web Readers Web visitors don't really read much of what's on a webpage---not much more than 20% on average (1). They also skip straight over large blocks of text … [Read more...]

Crafting Headings and Subheadings

August 2011 According to the Web Style Content Guide (1), "On the Web, you live or die by your headings... A good one makes it easier for readers to find your article, and much more likely that they will read what you have written. A  bad heading ensures that few, if any, readers will find your text at all, and that those who do will be unlikely to read further." (2)O--kay. Sounds important, even critical. Let's get down to it, then:Elements of a … [Read more...]

What’s the Big Deal about Pinterest?

 by Elaine Mulligan Project Director, National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY)Why on earth would a disseminator need to learn about Pinterest? Isn’t that the silly site that young folks use to create dream weddings and share recipes?Oh no, dear friend (and fellow social media resister), it’s so much more than that. Pinterest is the fastest-growing social media site and is already the third most-visited social networking … [Read more...]

NOTICE: NICHCY is going away, but its resources are not. Find hundreds of legacy NICHCY publications, as well as our training curriculum on IDEA 2004, in the Center for Parent Information and Resources' Library at This website will remain available until September 30, 2014. After that date, web visitors will be automatically redirected to