Dyslexia and Irlen syndrome

Find out about dyslexia and Irlen syndrome and how the library can help your children

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a language processing problem, a specific difficulty in learning one or more of spelling, writing or reading. Many dyslexics experience visual stress and have difficulty in distinguishing between printed letters in books and in tracking words across the page when reading.

It should be diagnosed by a professional. Always speak with your child's school first if you have any concerns.

What is Irlen syndrome?

Some dyslexics also have Irlen syndrome. That means they also have a problem with visual perception. Glare from white paper is particularly stressful for people with Irlen syndrome so they too may find that cream paper is more comfortable to read from.

It can be diagnosed by qualified screeners and Irlen diagnosticians.

How our libraries can help children with dyslexia and Irlen syndrome

We stock physical books from the dyslexia-specialist publisher, Barrington Stoke. These books are dyslexia-friendly by having the following features:

  • Text printed on cream paper with a matt surface to mitigate the effect of glare from white paper.
  • Thick paper, since dyslexics experience reading problems when print from overleaf show through on the reading page.
  • Specially-created type face designed to minimise visual stress by using slightly longer ascenders and descenders on letters.
  • A wider gap between each line of text, clear punctuation and a more defined gap between paragraphs.

Our eBook services allow you to change both page colour and font size to create a bespoke visual experience for your child. Learn more about our e-services.

We also stock physical and digital audiobooks free of charge. Your child may enjoy just listening to the story, or want to read the print version at the same time. We also stock books for adults about dyslexia and other learning difficulties.

How you can help children with dyslexia and Irlen syndrome

Dyslexic children often have problems with spelling and handwriting. The British Dyslexia Association has useful information and resources. They also have a guide on signs of dyslexia in children, as does the NHS website.

If your child has Irlen syndrome, placing a simple coloured overlay across the page of a book could make it easier for your child to read. Experiment at home using a pack of multi-coloured transparent sheets (bought from any stationers). It could considerably extend the range of books your child can choose from at very small cost.

BookTrust has an informative blog written by Eve Wersocki Morris on tips to get children with dyslexia hooked on reading.

Tips on choosing books
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Dyslexia-friendly books for children

Super-readable dyslexia-friendly books from Barrington Stoke.

Browse children's books

Dyslexia-friendly books for teens

Visually-accessible fiction for teens and young adults.

Browse teen books

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