Many parents become aware of their child’s dyslexia only when they start school, so we thought we’d offer some ideas to support young readers who are less confident. It can be hard to find books that are suitable for dyslexic children. Learning to read is hard work and can be quite daunting, often also tinged with the fear that once you can read, the bedtime stories will stop. Here are some simple ways to ensure that reading stays fun and feels achievable. Dyslexia makes it even harder, so do ask for support, and look up information on The British Dyslexia Association website. Don’t feel that offering your child extra help is cheating or stalling their learning in any way.
Allow your child to choose a book they want to read and let them start reading – genuinely allowing a child to choose (even if it is not what you would have chosen for them) is a significant factor in their investment in learning. Read together, and read at your child’s pace, not your own. When they make a mistake give your child time to have another try, but then say the word yourself and allow them to carry on – this keeps the flow going.
Take breaks and only read in short, achievable blocks. Also take time to look at and discuss the pictures in the book – visual literacy is important too. Remember, learning to read is not a race against other classmates, so ignore the boasting parents in the playground! Try to think of your role at home as to ensure that they keep enjoying books and stories.
For an older child, make use of audio books too; if there is a class book and your child struggles to read it, download the audio version. They will keep up with the class, be able to join in discussions about the plot and characters, and knowing the story of the book will remove the anxiety associated with the challenges of reading.
Look out for Super Readable books, such as those by Barrington Stoke. They are great books for dyslexic children. These are printed a little differently, with good quality paper, proper spacing and paragraph breaks too. And they only work with the very best writers working today, so you will also get a great story. All the photos on these pages are of super-readable Barrington Stoke books for readers of all ages.
Written for Raring2go! by Tamsin Rosewell, Kenilworth Books