Today, we’d like to share some additional tips and tricks for patrons with dyslexia. Our April 2021 toolkit included resources for Children with Print Disabilities. This month’s post will share some additional tips and tricks to help make engaging with print content easier for patrons.
Download a browser extension.
Accessing content online is relies on the design and layout of the content creators. Browser extensions allow patrons to customize that content in a way that is more easily viewed. OpenDyslexic is an open-sourced font created especially for readers with dyslexia. Each letter includes a heavily weighted bottom. This helps indicate its correct direction, which helps prevent confusion. The unique letter shapes also help readers avoid confusing similar letters. You can download the packages for free for use on phones, tablets, and internet browsers. In addition, their website includes additional resources like keyboards and compatible websites.
Use dyslexia-friendly fonts and colors with econtent.
eBook providers like OverDrive (and the associated Libby app), Sora, Hoopla, and Kindle offer features to assist readers. In fact, customizing fonts and colors can make it easier for readers to distinguish individual letters. First, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the features of whatever provider your library uses. Then, be ready to walk patrons through those features on different devices for a successful experience.
Look for physical books in dyslexia-friendly fonts.
While you likely can’t find every popular title in dyslexia-friendly fonts, there are titles available. The series Here’s Hank by Henry Winkler is one example. Royal Fireworks Press and the UK-based Barrington Stoke are two examples of publishers with dedicated dyslexia-friendly titles. If publisher selections are limited, vendors like AbeBooks, Amazon, and eBay may also provide opportunities to expand your collection. Or, if print books aren’t an option, consider collections like audiobooks, large print, or graphic novels that may be more accessible.
Offer overlays or reading guides.
Overlays and reading guides can help children read standard print materials. These tools help provide guidance for reading along the lines, or colored contrast to make it easier to distinguish letters. You can choose from options like reading strips to help guide individual lines of text, or full page overlays in a variety of styles. Work with readers in your community to find what options they prefer. You might include these as resources available in the library, or part of a circulating kit.
Do you have other tips or strategies that may help readers with dyslexia or other print disabilities? Please reach out to us at email@example.com with your suggestions. The Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee would like to express their sincere appreciation to librarian Cathrine Trautman of the Northville District Library for providing the above resources and suggestions for librarians.
Jaime Eastman is a Senior Public Services Librarian and Family Place Coordinator at the Harrington Library in Plano, Texas. She is currently serving as co-chair of the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee and loves sharing resources that support librarians in their work.