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Typography for children with reading difficulties: preferences for type in reading books

Thiessen, M. and Dyson, M. C. (2009) Typography for children with reading difficulties: preferences for type in reading books. International Journal of the Book, 6 (2). pp. 115-122. ISSN 1447-9516

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Abstract/Summary

For children with developmental dyslexia the already challenging task of learning to read is made harder by difficulties with phonological processing and perceptual distortions. As a result, these children may be less motivated to practise their literacy skills. This is problematic in that literacy can only be gained through constant and continued exposure to reading scenarios, and children who are unmotivated to practise are unlikely to develop into fluent readers. Children are active in choosing the books they read and it is therefore important to understand how the typography in those books influences their choice. Research with typically developing children has shown that they have clear opinions about the typography in their reading materials and that these opinions are likely to influence their motivation to read particular books. However, it cannot be assumed that children with reading difficulties read and respond to texts in the same way as children who do not struggle. Through case-studies of three children with reading difficulties, preferences for the typography in their reading books is examined. Looking at elements of typesetting such as spacing and size shows that this group of children is aware of differences in typography and that they have preferences for how their reading books are typeset. These children showed a preference for books that resembled those that their peers are reading rather than those that would, by typographic convention, be considered easier to read. This study is part of ongoing research into the development of alternative materials for teaching literacy skills to children with dyslexia.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Typography & Graphic Communication
ID Code:33255
Publisher:Common Ground Publishing

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