Sunday, 20 July 2014

Dyslexic Friendly Books

I stumbled upon the publisher Barrington Stoke whilst working my way through the shelves in Streatham library. I picked up a slim volume called Rose of No Man's land by Anne Perry, which was written as a piece of historical fiction for teens. In the story, Rose goes back in time and works as a Red Cross nurse during World War One. On reading the book I was impressed by how moving the story was, despite the brevity of the book. It wasn't until I got to the end of the text that I noticed the dyslexic friendly sticker on the front. Intrigued, I googled the term and found out about the work that Barrington Stoke does - they commision authors to write books that make it easier for people with dyslexia to read. According to their website, Barrington Stoke say that their 'books are edited and designed to minimise some of the obstacles that can stop struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers really getting hooked by a book. [Their] books don’t patronise and since they’re by the best authors in the business there’s no stigma attached to being seen reading them.'

I thought it was fantastic that Barrington Stoke books encourage people with dyslexia to read more, since as the publishers say themselves, 'once a reader is hooked by a story, research shows that their reading ability actually improves.' I also thought that some of the methods used by the publisher to make their books more accessible to reluctant readers were very clever. Their methods include:

  •  Short word lengths so readers can enjoy the achievement of finishing a book
  • Lots of chapter breaks so readers can take a rest
  • Special edit processes, with trialling by children of the correct reading age
  • Cream paper which minimises glare
  • Our own dyslexia-friendly font
  • Special line, character and paragraph spacing
  • Lots of illustration in lower reading-age titles to help with understanding
Barrington Stoke publish books for children, teens and adults, and even though I don't have dyslexia myself, I throughly enjoyed the two titles I read which had been published by them [After completing Rose of No Man's Land, I also read Tilly's Promise by Linda Newberry, another piece of historical fiction] since I thought they were beautifully written, historically accurate and very poignant. I would reccommend their books to readers of any ability. 

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