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Dyslexia Awareness Month

October 19, 2019

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month! Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability that affects a person’s reading skills and other language abilities. While dyslexia can affect people throughout their lives, it is often most apparent in students as they are learning to read and write. Spelling difficulties, letter and number reversals, pronunciation difficulties, and reading complications are common signs and struggles of dyslexia. Even the slightest case of dyslexia can interrupt a student’s academic progress. The cause of dyslexia is not fully known but certainly isn’t due to a lack of intellect or willingness to learn! Even so, students with dyslexia may become frustrated and unmotivated due to reading and language strains.

There is no cure for dyslexia so what types of aids are available for dyslexic students? When reading, appearance can make a huge difference! Dyslexia-friendly fonts include Helvetica, Courier, Arial, Verdana, and Computer Modern Uni-code. Since many books are published in fonts different than these, look for titles that are geared towards dyslexic readers such as the Here’s Hank series and the Hank Zipzer series. Comic books and graphic novels are another great option as pictures help readers interpret words, and large print may also be helpful for some students.

Digitally, you can choose to use OpenDyslexic, an open source font created with dyslexia readability in mind. Added as a Chrome extension, it can be a tremendous aid in the readability of webpages. Ebooks are also a great tool since the text size, spacing, page color, and font can be changed. OverDrive and Cloud Library offer these options as well as dyslexia font to aid readers. Audiobooks can be yet another way to help dyslexic students gain reading skills and confidence as they can listen to a story and read along with the book.

Publishers are becoming more aware of the different needs of their readers. European publisher Barrington Stoke prints “super-readable, dyslexia-friendly fiction to help every child become a reader.” The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped also offer free Talking Books that could be beneficial to dyslexic students. Other resources can be found here, here, and here.

Raising awareness of dyslexia is the simplest way to help students! By showing patience and compassion to struggling readers and dyslexic students, we can help all readers reach higher potential!

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