Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dyslexic-Centric Titles from Stoke Books

On the American Dyslexia Association's blog this morning was an announcement that Stoke Books has released a list of titles that are written about dyslexics and for dyslexics. These books are written for middle readers through young adults, but they are written at a 3rd or 4th grade reading level to accommodate struggling readers. The blog described the books:

"The books are commissioned, edited and designed to break down the barriers that can stop teens from wanting to read due to lack of confidence and reluctance through visual stress and dyslexia. The font, spacing, editing, paper and short, punchy chapter structure all help readers focus on the most important thing – the compelling story."

In addition:

"The paper in each book is lightly tinted to reduce glare, tackle visual stress, and stop words appearing to ‘dance’ on the page. The font is designed to make each letter as distinctive as possible, to help with word and character recognition, promote good eye-tracking, and lead the eye onwards. The layout is carefully calculated to ensure words and letters don’t encroach on each other and confuse the eye, give enough text per line to allow readers to ‘chunk’ for meaning."

The books have flashy, bright covers and are clearly trying to draw in struggling readers. I think this is a great idea, but often these publishers overlook one very important aspect of a dyslexic's life: they want to be like every other non-dyslexic peer. They don't necessarily want special books and special classes. They want to read what their friends are reading. They already feel different and separating them further with these special books doesn't help that fact.

Still, I appreciate the trend of publishers to consider the different reading levels of their readers, and in particular, to focus on the struggling readers. Granted, this publisher is a UK based company, but we have seen this trend across the pond as well. Now all we have to do is try to keep them from making the books look quite so cheesy and maybe our kids will seek them out!

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