Guest Post, Marketing Tips Helpful Tips from a Librarian on How to Reach Children with Dyslexia

Did you know that 1 in 10 people have symptoms of dyslexia? It is estimated that between 5-10% of the population has dyslexia, but this number can also be as high as 17%. With proper guidance, people who have dyslexia can learn to enjoy reading.

In recognition that October is National Dyslexia Awareness Month we invited Kate Capps, a librarian at Olathe Public Library who works passionately to meet the needs of all her patrons, to share some helpful tips to reach children with dyslexia.

Encouraging the Struggling Reader
by Kate Capps

Capps, KateSome children struggle with reading for various reasons. They may be reluctant readers who “don’t like” reading. Their learning style may not be textual. Or they may have dyslexia. In all three cases, audiobooks can help.

When I was a newly minted children’s librarian, I was visited by the reading teacher from one of our Title I schools. She sought chapter books with the corresponding unabridged audiobook. She explained that listening reinforced what her students were reading and increased their comprehension. As the children’s audiobook selector, I strive to purchase audio versions of books we own, in part to support this aspect of our patrons’ education.

More than once a parent has asked for help in finding books for a child with dyslexia. For those with dyslexia, difficulty in reading print may be exacerbated by type size, line length, and text spacing. For that reason, a dyslexic child could read only beginning readers, which were rejected because the content was far beneath the child’s interests. In these cases, I suggest to the parents that we match up chapter books of interest to their children with the audio version of the same book. Afterwards, parents report back that their children are happily reading at the same level as their peers.

For those children who struggle with reading because they don’t like it, try pairing an audiobook with the print edition of a book on a subject that interests them. The quality of the audiobook narrator enhances the reading experience for the listener, and it may instill confidence that reading can be enjoyable.

Listening to a well-read story may carry over to reading the next book in a series. For example, the voice of P.K. Pinkerton, the main character in Caroline Lawrence’s hilarious Western Mysteries series, remained with me long after I’d finished listening to the first book. His quirky way of speaking along with the tone provided by the narrator, T. Sands, is a winner.

There are several learning styles, and they affect some students more than others. For some, the auditory style is more pronounced; for others, reading is not their dominant style. For these students, audiobooks may bolster their reading experience. As Rose Brock stated in her “Why Listen?” article, 30% of people are auditory learners.

Handing audiobooks to struggling readers is a great way to motivate them to enjoy literature and becoming stronger readers.

To find out more about how to help children with dyslexia check out The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child’s Confidence and Love of Learning written and read by Ben Foss.


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