| By Sabine McAlpine |
There are many reasons that young adults may not develop a relationship with reading. While learning disabilities can certainly be a factor, it may simply be reluctance.
Large print is often associated with older readers and those that are visually impaired, but it is also beneficial to readers who have fallen behind a grade level, experience eye fatigue, have ADD, or struggle with dyslexia.
My daughter, Danielle, struggled with reading from an early age. When she was in kindergarten, I noticed she found it difficult to remember the sounds of the alphabet. Simple sight words were tough for her. I worked with her teachers to implement and try any and every new strategy with little success. In fourth grade, she was reading well below average, and I decided we needed to have her tested.
We did find that she had two learning disabilities, both processing and memory, along with an ADD diagnosis.
Sitting down with her teachers, we went through the IEP process and talked about various strategies until large print books became an option. Things didn’t change overnight, but over the course of two years, Danielle changed. Her reading scores went up. Her fluency improved. Her mistakes lessened. Comprehension increased.
Danielle’s confidence jumped by leaps and bounds. By the end of sixth grade, she was reading at grade level. And, for the first time, she was excited about reading.
Danielle is not alone. The U.S. Department of Education’s National Report Card from 2013 states 65% of 4th graders, 64% of 8th graders and 60% of 12th graders scored “below proficient” in grade-level reading.
The combination of a larger font and fewer words on a page aids in:
- Decoding, by improving letter recognition
- Tracking, with increased line spacing to reduce eye strain
- Fluency, by allowing users to string words together more quickly
- Comprehension, overall accuracy and speed allow for a flow to better understanding
Large Print also aids readers by lowering anxiety levels, as well as reducing the number of reading miscues that hinder fluency. Thorndike Press large print books are created with the same artwork as the original and are the same size, sometimes even appearing smaller than the regular print edition, reducing stigma for the reader.
Providing large print books is a strategy to spark the interest of young readers and ultimately ignite their passion for reading.