From the Hunger Games to Harry Potter, the profile of children’s and young adult books has never been higher. At the same time, an alarming number of children are leaving primary school without ever fully cracking reading.
Studies show that boys willing to read past the hundredth page of any book are in the minority. Dyslexia and other issues mean that a significant percentage of children risk missing out on the brilliant reading available to their peers.
Why all the problems?
Learning to read is a bit like learning to drive. It would be harder to learn to drive had one never been a passenger in a car, and it is harder for a child to learn to read when he or she is not exposed to a home environment rich in language and reading. Parents can help by spending lots of time reading aloud, playing and chatting. Make sure children see other family members reading for pleasure, too.
New drivers have to think hard about the process of driving until lots of practice makes it second nature, and new readers have to think hard about reading. ‘Beginning’ books are not always the most exciting and some children fall out of love with books when they meet their first independent reading material. You can help by continuing to read books to them that really pique their interest.
If you think your child is really struggling to get to grips with reading, it’s important that you discuss your concerns with his or her class teacher. Issues with reading, and particularly dyslexia, can severely disrupt a child’s learning.
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia refers to a continuum of learning difficulties primarily affecting reading and writing, and also potentially impacting on concentration, motor co-ordination, organisational skills and some mathematical functions. Dyslexia can affect anyone, regardless of intellectual ability.
How can I tell if my child has dyslexia?
Typically children with dyslexia will struggle to crack the phonic ‘code’ behind English and will find it tough to remember and recognise words. These difficulties can also be traced to other causes, however, and expert help is needed to identify properly any additional support needs your child may have.
How Barrington Stoke can help:
Barrington Stokebooks are commissioned, edited and designed to help break down barriers for children who struggle with reading. Tinted paper reduces visual stress and a special dyslexia-friendly font ensures a smooth read for all. Texts are short and achievable and content is matched to the real age of the reader, not their reading age. Most importantly, the company publishes ‘proper’ authors like Michael Morpurgo (author of ‘War Horse’), Andy Stanton (‘Mr Gum’) and Chris Bradford (‘Young Samurai’). This means that there’s no stigma to being seen with a Barrington Stoke book, and children can cite the same favourite authors as their peers. These authors have got to where they are today because they really know their business, and they bring all of their skill to their Barrington Stoke titles. Great stories grasp the imagination, plots rattle along so there’s no time to get bored, and cliff-hangers motivate reluctant readers to hang on in there.
What parents say
“To hear my child reading out loud to herself without my assistance was the most wonderful thing ever. It has really boosted her confidence and she is so proud of herself.”
“You have helped open a door which we thought was firmly bolted shut for years to come.”
“I have raved to everyone who will listen about your books.”