I am a women with dyslexia and I would describe myself as a very reluctant reader but an extremely avid audiobook listener. Yet I volunteer in Glasgow Women’s Library, the irony is not lost on me.
I grew up in a household of book lovers. My childhood home was full of books, magazines and newspapers. My family also visited libraries, bookshops and museums a lot.
Meaning I now have a strange attraction to books as objects, although the thought of reading them both exhausts and nauseates me. I was luckily enough to be read to when I was wee, although unfortunately when I was in primary school I began to refuse to be read to (I think my peers made it clear to me that being read to just proved how “stupid/behind” I was).
Glasgow Women’s Library has a Story Cafe almost every Thursday lunchtime (when it is open), which I love. I can listen to someone reading and drink tea. The book launches at the library often have readings (by the actual author) too. I have found that though conversations and other interactions at the library I pick up (almost by osmosis) wee titbits of info that help me fake it when around book lovers.
I have received a lot of support from Dyslexia Scotland. They have produced a number of leaflets that they make available at events and on their website. The following gives some really useful information about how to make written information more dyslexia-friendly.
I have it on good authority that following 2 books from Barrington Stoke will be donated to GWL once it re-opens and they will soon be available to use/read: * A Retelling of Jane Eyre
Barrington Stoke books are extremely clearly laid out and clearly written (to allow the story to flow). It’s not just that they have large print. When I was younger I used to borrow large print books (for those with failing eyesight) from my local library but found the line spacing pretty useless for me. My eye tracking isn’t great so these books (with large print and normal single line spacing) were just as difficult to read as a normal adult books.
Whilst researching this blog, I found the dysbooks.com website.
It makes some good points, especially at the beginning. In keeping with the first sentence, I would like to point out that this is a very personal commentary, i.e. this is Doreen’s experience of reading and the written word (not every person or women with dyslexia will agree with everything in this blog). I noticed they recommend graphic novels, which I have tried, with around the same success as I had with large print books. I think it is because comics have such busy pages, comics artists are amazing and create such dynamic pictures, but this makes reading very difficult. Concentrating on often quite small text which is not in the best font is especially difficult with busy pages.
I would like to say one last thing: if you are helping to teach someone to read please do not concentrate to much on every single word (especially not the wee linking words). It takes all the fun out of it. Let the context tell the story. If the reader is getting the big picture, let them be. Concentrating on every single wee word will make for a slow reader, and if the habit is drummed into someone, it is an extremely difficult habit to break.