All I see is weird objects. THEY’re twisted and curved and some even jagged. THEY scare me more than the teachers do when they yell at me for not doing my work. THEY scare me more than the monsters in my closet, the rumbles from beneath my bed. THEY are everywhere, I can’t escape them. It pains my head to look but the adults tell me I have to! Why can’t I just look at the colours of art and those pictures that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside? THEY are going to drive me crazy. THEY… THEY…THEY are known to you as letters.
When I grow up I don’t want to seen as “lazy” or “stupid”, I just want to read; like you and all the other people in my class. I try my best but there’s no letting in. Does anyone understand me?’
Dyslexia is a common impairment to one of the most advantageous and underrated skills in the history of mankind; the ability to read. Although steps are in place to assist and combat this impairment, they are small and slow in progress. It is almost hard to believe that 15-20% of the population has a language based learning disability; dyslexia being the most common. So, what exactly is dyslexia? I mean, sure, anyone can tell you that people with this hindrance find it difficult to read words or have a lack of fluency, but just what is happening?
Imagine this, a circus of acrobats on a dipping tightrope, swinging from the trapeze and swooping across the big top in an amazing aerial display. Now imagine the big top being a page in a book, the acrobats being letters and the dipping tightrope the sentences in each paragraph. As you can see, to follow succinctly and fluently, let alone accurately, all of a sudden becomes a very daunting task indeed. This is what those who suffer from dyslexia deal with each and every time they pick up a text. Reading should be a magical experience that takes you on a mystical adventure, regardless of text type. The ability to gain knowledge, comprehend and respond purposefully is to be treasured and is more often than not, very difficult to acquire if in this predicament.
Now then, how can this experience of reading become easier, more pleasurable and less stressful?
Although not truly magical, it has a similar effect. At JustZeusBooks, our fix gives a feeling just as special. OpenDyslexic font. How does it work? It not only gives each line clarity but more importantly, it alleviates the common issues of dyslexia; including letter rotation, swapping letters because they look similar and the drifting and moving of letters. This is done through its creator’s careful thought processing into giving letterforms weighted bottoms, almost nailing them to the page in place and the appreciation of kearning (space between letters).
We know that those that can easily access and interpret the written word are always at an advantage, so why disadvantage one in five children in their learning of literacy? OpenDyslexic font is not the ‘be all or end all’, nor is it the magic remedy to cure reading difficulties but it is something. It is a positive step towards creating magical experiences for even the most challenged readers. From the mouth of those offering advice to our challenged readers, “just give it a go”.
Oh the joys of reading. “Lose yourself in a book”, and “the world between the covers” are phrases often used to entice the treasure that books can unveil. But what about those who don’t like the long periods beyond the pages or can’t quite decode the smaller text you find in novels, even if written for the novices of the book world? The answer is quite clear, my friend; bury yourself in the charm of a picture book. Read on to find your inner child.
Remember that time? You know the one. Tucked up in bed, or on the couch with a loved one? That sight of the set of eyes, glued to the pages within this paperback cloak of invisibility! Behind these pages, you are safe from harm and, although lost in a different world, you are maintaining courage to continue on this exciting journey. When you close the book an overwhelming smile hits your heart and keeps it warm for the night’s sleep ahead; as tight as a warm hug. Now, when do you get that from an iphone?
In human nature, we yearn to touch, to have that desirable tactile experience. There rarely beats the opportunity to touch. Whether at a museum standing before a ‘do not touch’ sign or at a petting zoo; we crave tactility. It’s clear this experience is so sought after, even the major technology brands have switched marketing ploys; from driving hands free to having the ability to press, flick and swipe. But nothing truly beats that caressing, grabbing and probing. To touch the glossy pages of a picture book is what makes the experience of reading a feat worth pursuing. You slide finger tips to the corners of each page, ready to turn. It’s as if your holding a treasure map, searching for the “X” that marks that magical spot.
When meandering through the mystical forest that is a book, be sure to refer to the component of audio stimulation. A favourite past time for all has to be sitting up, perched upon someone’s lap or curled up in bed listening to a story. Books offer the practise needed to become fluent, articulate and invigorating; just in the way you use your voice. Picture books help you discover expression like never before, regardless of your audience. Decoding and building words, characters or the tempo within a story is unconsciously done with an ambitious dependency on tone and expression. We all can agree, those who dramatise prose, perfect picture story perusal. In other words, those who use their voice to engage make the picture book story so much more fun. What is the biggest difference in a picture book though, compared with its relative, the novel? Perhaps that it is the visual aids that help our ability to relate to, describe and depict a scene and all that is within? Without pictures, our imagination cannot truly begin. We all know the ‘a picture tells 1000 words’ war cry going into battle for picture books.
The most stimulating and perhaps memorable element to reading picture books is its appetising need to be read as a shared experience. Although not entirely impossible, novels and chapter books really only lend itself to the independent reader, and the competent one at that. I see the force feeding of novels to children humiliating the entire reading experience on a daily basis. We read to enjoy, to be inspired and more, so why not do it together? Reading is for everyone, of all ages and should be an experience treasured. Pick up a picture book and lose yourself for the sake of fun. Become that child you have been hiding away for so long.