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Legibility research has been going on for two hundred years and it has discovered some useful pointers for anyone who is writing down words, or selecting words, to be put in front of anyone learning.
When a book designer is at work his trade, called typography, is an art: but it should be the least obtrusive of the arts. Its first job is to avoid all barriers that might come between the reader and the ideas for which the words are only symbols. If the print and the layout can avoid being a barrier, and at the same time can look aesthetically pleasing, typography has achieved its purpose.
Teachers too try to get through to children with as few distractions as possible. Some of the results of legibility research may help. Teachers can use these pointers when they are writing on the blackboard, making posters and charts, writing in books, preparing stencils and masters, and when making OHP transparencies. The research may also help when selecting reading books, particularly supplimentaries, when choosing between rival editions of a text, or choosing new texts. Specialist teachers of reading, remedial reading, and those teaching the partially sighted should also find these findings helpful. Art teachers may find their prejudices confirmed - or softened.
This article is based on books and articles by Herbert Spencer RDI FSIA Senior Research Fellow, Readibility of Print, Royal College of Art, London.

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