Recent research has shown that reading can significantly contribute to vocabulary development. Not only that, it has also been determined (perhaps unsurprisingly!) that the more a person reads, the better they become over time. Therefore, it’s vital that we encourage our children to become avid readers from an early age.
If your child has dyslexia, it can be complicated to encourage them to read, as they probably won’t like to do something they struggle with. According to Sara Druet from Tutoring for Excellence, dyslexia is one of the least prohibitive difficulties which Australian kids can suffer from. If found early enough, a child with Dyslexia can be taught to overcome their inherent problems with reading.
One way that they can overcome this is to have children read things they are interested in, or something related to a topic of their interest. This will motivate them to read the content and persevere, in spite of any challenges.
It also helps when books are in the right font, style, and format. The books should have short sentences and paragraphs that are correctly structured and are easy to follow. Engaging illustrations to break up the text also help, as they also provide context.
We’ve put together a list of books for you, and while these suggestions may help, be sure to pick the one that is not too difficult for your child. If you’re not sure if a book is going to be too difficult, you can try the five-finger test.
To do the test, find a page in the book with no drawings or pictures, and have your child start reading from the top until they reach a word they don’t know. Your child then places a finger on the word and continues to read until they reach another word they don’t know, where they will place another finger. If they run out of fingers before finishing the page, the book may be too difficult for them to read on their own.
No matter the reason your child has struggled with reading, it’s important that you pick a quiet environment to get them started with their new book. A drink and snack nearby also helps. Time their reading, and keep the sessions short.
If your child is put off by reading, a good suggestion is to start with an audiobook, which helps bring the stories to life. You can also read to them, or share the book with them, with each of you reading a page. Talk about what you’re reading and what images come to their heads while they are reading, which will keep your child engaged.
Most of all, make reading fun and keep in mind that the more they read, the easier reading becomes.
Bearing in mind that it’s difficult to find reading material that is rich and exciting to children and is not too difficult, we’ve put together a list of books that is sure to pique your child’s interest and start them off on a reading adventure.
Tom Gates: DogZombies Rule (For Now) – Liz Pichon
The author is dyslexic herself, and she has written the tremendously popular Tom Gates series as a way of giving children the books she wishes had been available when she was growing up. The storytelling is creative, and the book features brightly coloured illustrations, comical tales and a wide range of fonts. This series is sure to intrigue your child, and make them want to read it again and again. In this book, Tom Gates has great plans to make his band DogZombies the most popular band in the world. What could go wrong?
The Front Room – Michelle Magorian
Barrington Stoke has been publishing excellent books which are easy to read and meant for children with dyslexia for over 20 years, and this new book does not disappoint. It’s aimed at a slightly older audience but will keep your teen or pre-teen hooked until the last page. This suspenseful and spooky tale takes place on a holiday that was meant to give Hanna’s parents a break after losing their baby, but things take a turn for the worse once Hanna discovers there’s something quite wrong with her room.
You’re a Bad Man, Mr. Gum! – Andy Stanton
This is the first book in the internationally best-selling series, which has won a lot of awards, including the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award. The series is focused on a horrible man who hates animals, fun, children and corn on the cob. This book was first published a decade ago but is still as beloved by children today as it was back then. This book will attract children to the series by being funny and adventurous, and it will not overwhelm them with too many words on each page.
The Twits – Roald Dahl
The Twits tell the story of Mr. and Mrs. Twit, a very obnoxious couple who are forever attempting to outdo each other regarding nastiness. The Roly-Poly Bird and the Muggle-Wump monkeys come up with a brilliant scheme to give them just the nasty surprise they have coming to them. You may credit Roald Dahl as the author who started your love of books, and you can use this book to pass on that feeling to your children.
Raymie Nightingale – Kate Dicamillo
The short chapters in this book will make this seem less daunting if your child has experienced struggles with reading. This page-turner entices young readers right from the get-go, going through this incredible story about love and loss. The author drew inspiration from her own childhood memories about her father leaving and tells the story of 10-year-old Raymie Clark who believes her father will come home if she wins a competition, forming unlikely friendships in the process.
Now that you have all these great books to get your child hooked on reading, make time in the day where they can read for fun, as reading for pleasure will promote their reading skills. It’s important that they choose the book that interests them, as the goal is to read and enjoy.
Sara also advises that if you suspect that your child may have learning difficulties, it is important not to panic. Many children will have some difficulties over time, and it is important that you don’t make a big deal out of it. Chances are they will already feel left out or different, and it is your job to make them feel at ease with these differences. Talk to them and ask how they feel about their learning experiences. Identify where they need help and be proactive to find a solution.