Dyslexics tend to be great guessers. That’s a good coping strategy but it often means that reading stalls at that of an 11-year-old, unless you do a little bit of work to improve decoding (an initial weakness for dyslexics). A book like Toe By Toe can help lay strong foundations, but sometimes it can feel daunting to go from reading single words to whole books.
Here are some ideas of books to build their confidence and help them slowly fall in love with reading…
(1) Barrington Stoke has some fab books, some of which have a reading age as young as six, but are aimed at teenagers.
(2) High Interest Publishing also has books worth a look.
(3) A very different choice is the massively creepy Dark Man series. The ebooks are £5 each and they are designed for turned-off readers who have never read a whole book successfully.
(4) The Lexile or AR level of a book can help you to find some shorter hi-lo books (high interest but low reading level) and your dyslexic teen can get free access to thousands of books via RNIB Bookshare – just ask their school to sign them up for free and send you the login. Here is a handy list of some hi-lo books.
(5) Decodable books can be a great bridge, building confidence without meeting too many words which can’t be sounded out. My top choice for decodable books would be those on the Teen and Adults Phonics Library App – you download the app and then can buy individual books at £3 each.
(6) Some people rate the Keystone ‘We Are Heroes’ books.
(7) The Simple Words books are brilliantly constructed of easy words but let down by some childish graphics.
(8) Graphic novels, like those by Perfection Learning, can be amazing, but sometimes they then become too fearful to try a ‘normal’ book. In that case, make sure that visual issues aren’t complicating things.
(9) Stride Ahead is a series of phonic passages. It is designed as a comprehension programme but is better as a way to help older readers develop accuracy and fluency, through timing yourself. It is great value at only £17
(10) Finally, Saddleback Educational Publishers are my heroes. They have created graphic novel and easy reader versions of most of the set texts for GCSE English (a lot of which are on Amazon) and some of the coolest, most diverse easy-read books I’ve ever come across. You can read samples on their website and buy the ebook versions here.
If you can get school/college library to invest in some books, then I would thoroughly recommend Saddleback’s ‘decode, develop and discover’ books. The books are amazing and about 7 dollars each (it’s an American company) but they only sell them in bulk.