Engaging with books 1


This mini-series of 3 blog posts explores what helps me to engage with books. We’ll be focusing on the following 3 areas:

  1. Print books (post 1)
  2. Alternative formats (post 2)
  3. Non-Fiction (post 3)

By ‘engaging with books’ I mean accessing books in one or more format(s) e.g. print, audio and dramatization. Throughout this blog mini-series, I will be referencing various resources that I as a dyslexic individual find helpful. This does not equate to Dyslexia Scotland endorsing these resources.

In this blog post we’ll consider 3 things that help me to engage with print books:

1)    Understanding what reading and comprehension are;

2)    Self-help resources; and

3)    Addressing my visual conditions

1)    Understanding what reading and comprehension are

I used to think of reading and comprehension as one thing. That’s understandable, because most study skills resources don’t make the distinction.  They refer to ‘reading’ and don’t mention comprehension.  But then I came across an explanation of the term ‘comprehension’.  It was a moment of insight because it made me realise that reading and comprehension are different:

  • Reading is the physical / visual act of recognising / decoding individual words
  • Comprehension is taking in / following / absorbing what you read as a whole, so that you can tell it to someone else in your own words

Being aware of this difference makes engaging with a print book more manageable for me. It enables me to better understand my difficulties with print books. That helps me to identify any skills I lack, and to acquire them.

2)    Self-help resources  

The following resources, all aimed at adults, help me to engage with print books.

a) The reading and comprehension toolkits in the book ‘Making Dyslexia Work for You’ by Goodwin and Thomson

b) ‘Rapid Reading’ by Janis Grummitt

  • Print book
  • A detailed but succinct guide to reading and comprehension
  • Dyslexia-friendly
  • ISBN 0 85290 152 6

c) The Reading Skills part of the University of Sheffield’s ‘Study Skills for Students with Dyslexia’ website

  • A multi-sensory interactive guide to reading and comprehension
  • Intended for non-fiction but much of it is relevant for fiction too

d) Series of books for adults designed to be dyslexia-friendly

  • A list of series of books which are more accessible than mainstream books


e) Strategy flashcards for engaging with books

  • Over 60 strategies that might help dyslexics to engage with books
  • User-friendly: instructions included; each strategy is on a flashcard
  • Most of the strategies are for comprehension; a few help with reading

f) ‘Dyslexia and Learning Style’ by Tilly Mortimore

  • Print book
  • Details how dyslexics take in information and what can help us in this process
  • I recommend starting with chapter 11
  • ISBN 978-0470511688

 3) Addressing my visual conditions

After I was identified as dyslexic, I was assessed for visual conditions that are associated with dyslexia. As a result, when I read now, I use a coloured overlay or background and I track print. These two changes have improved my reading greatly, which has made print books achievable for me.

How about you?

  • Interested in finding out about visual conditions? Dyslexia Scotland’s leaflets ‘Dyslexia and Visual Issues’ and ‘Visual Issues FAQs’ provide information and guidance.
  • What changes to your approach to print books have helped you?
  • Are there any resources that help you to engage with print books?

The next blog post will be about alternative formats.



Published by Dyslexia Scotland

We encourage and enable people with dyslexia, regardless of their age and abilities, to reach their potential.

2 thoughts on “Engaging with books 1

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