For my EPQ project I will be creating a short story for dyslexic children, one in which I hope they will be able to read with as much ease as possible. When it comes to the creation of my short story I have researched the difficulties that the dyslexic children face whilst trying to read story books and I would like to create a story that they would enjoy reading without facing too many struggles. Approximately one in ten children have dyslexia, when it comes to writing my story I don’t want the children to feel any different from the rest of the children around them. I decided to write a short story for dyslexic children but the story is not about dyslexia as I don’t want to give them the constant reminder of their disability. Although this story is aimed towards dyslexic children and to help them read, I would like for my story to be picked up by any child and for them to enjoy it regardless of disabilities.
For my story one of the main characters is a fluffy monster (Mr Monster), these are the images of which I would like to base my monster off of. I chose this edited version of a monster from the film Monsters Inc, due to the fact I would not like to scare the children with the monster in my story, instead teach them to be brave when it comes to their fears during night time.
My Short Story is a fictional story about friendship and bravery. I have used different coloured pages for my book to draw attention to it and for when the children read the book, they will be able to concentrate more due to the colours. I decided to do coloured pages due to the fact that over the summer I interviewed one of my friends who has dyslexia and found out how she feels about dyslexia and how it has affected her life as a 17 year old. Libbey found out about her dyslexia when she was 13 years old, which for dyslexia is quite a late age to be diagnosed. When it came to reading and writing Libbey struggled a lot in her classes and especially in exam conditions. Something that Libbey found very useful to help her read was to have something called a ‘coloured overlay’. A ‘coloured overlay’ is a piece of transparent plastic, that is coloured. Libby was able to put the coloured piece of plastic over her (white A4) paper to help her read.
From my research on dyslexic story books, not only did I look into the coloured paper, I also found special fonts that would help the children to read the short story. When it comes to the font of the writing I have looked into many different fonts in order to try and find the best one for the children to be able to read with as much ease as possible. These fonts have been used in many cases and are; Helvetica, Courier, Verdana and Computer Modern Uni – Code. Although with these fonts I also need to take into consideration the reading performance of the kids. However I have worked out that Arial is a font that should be avoided as it decreases readability. I have decided on a font to use for my story; Comic Sans MS
When it comes to the first stages of dyslexia, symptoms can be shown at young ages, even before the children have started school. Before school symptoms being; late talking, learning new words slowly or even having issues when it comes to remembering or naming letters / numbers or colours. Although symptoms of dyslexia may be shown, many children are not diagnosed with dyslexia until school age. Once the children are at school symptoms of dyslexia shown can be; reading a lot below the expected level for the age group, problems remembering the sequence of things, difficulty spelling, or even when it comes to reading the children would try to avoid it at all costs. (Mayo Clinic, 2019).
Growing up with dyslexia can be very hard on children, especially when many may not be diagnosed until older ages. When dyslexic children read they can become very frustrated with themselves when they aren’t able to read at the same level as other children. This website was from the ‘Mayo Clinic’ which is an American nonprofit academic medical centre, based in Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic focus on integrated clinical practice education and research. The information on the website is up to date as it has been edited even after publication. The website also has links to other sections about dyslexia, the section I used was ‘symptoms & causes’ but there is also ‘diagnosis & treatment’ connected to the page. This website has a lot of relevance to my topic seeing as the information on it is all about dyslexia. The website helped me to work out the age range I would like to focus on for my story seeing as it has all the different age groups and how dyslexia affects them.
This websites information is at a level for many to understand seeing as it is in dot points. The author of this piece is the ‘Mayo Clinic Staff’. This website is reliable due to the fact the clinic employs more than 4,500 physicians and scientists as well as 58,400 administrative and allied health staff. Seeing as this website is from the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research all of the information is well set out without any typographical or spelling errors. The site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information, therefore the accuracy of the information is very high and therefore the website is reliable. All of the information shown on the website is facts on dyslexia, meaning the author does not exhibit a particular bias. The purpose of the information was to inform people on the age range of dyslexia. This website could be very useful for parents looking for information on dyslexia as they would be able to track their child’s abilities in their reading and writing as they may be showing early stages of dyslexia.
From my research I have found that the average short story book for children in the age range I am focusing on (5-8 years) is 10-15 pages. As well as this I have found that the majority of children’s books are based on stories about animals and / or friendship. When researching more into story books that are directed towards dyslexic children there is a lot of colours and pictures to help the children read. Whilst dyslexic children are reading it is useful for them to have someone with them to help them read, especially if it is the first time they are reading the story.
Children with dyslexia find it extremely difficult to concentrate when reading, therefore never chose to pick up a book and try to avoid the situation. My aim is for the children to want to pick up my short story and enjoy trying/learning to read it. A reason for why I chose to write a short story was due to the fact I didn’t want the children having to read for too long as this could lead to them getting agitated. When speaking to the Head of Learning Support, Ms Sams, she gave me the idea to look more into the colour of the short story and the overall fonts as these are things that can really help the children to read the stories. This also helped me think more about the drawings in my book as this will help the children connect what they are reading with the pictures they are seeing.
A popular book that I have looked into is Diary of A Wimpy Kid. This story is known worldwide and is in fact helpful for dyslexic readers. The drawings in the book are actually just stick figures which is not usually something that would be good for dyslexic children to read as they aren’t actual images for them to view. From looking into these books, I decided to read one to see how the drawings back up the written story. After reading a couple of the stories I was able to see how the images were able to give the children a visual of what they were reading. I then looked more into the effort children put into reading, I found that it is believed that children with dyslexia work five times harder than a normal child to decode text. Therefore the children get very tired whilst reading story books leading to them to want to give up easily.
(Heads Up by Boys’ Life, 2019)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid is an example of a book which has broken up text, which gives the children plenty of time to have breaks throughout the book. With the broken up text this also gives the children the ability to look over at the images in the stories they are reading which will keep them intrigued in the story. (Learningally.org, 2019). This article was written in December 2015 meaning it may seem like it is out of date, however it has been edited since being published. Since the source is all about the Diary of a Wimpy Kid stories, the last book to be realised was back in 2016. Therefore the source is reliable to the date of the books realise. This source is relevant to my topic seeing as it is all about how a certain series of books are helpful for dyslexic children to read. This source is the reason that I decided to read the Diary of the Wimpy Kid books to try and see how my short story could be like these stories. The information is at an appropriate level as it is easy to read and understand. The author of this article is Mir Ali, he writes many blog posts on stories and gives genuine feedback for them. Although this piece isn’t written by someone well known, I believe it is a reliable source seeing as it is on and organisational website. The purpose of this piece is to give the audience an idea of how Diary of a Wimpy Kid can help dyslexic children with their reading.
From my research I have also found that the students can find it hard to hold questions / information in their heads for very long this leading them finding it easier to get information in shorter cases / sentences. With this there is also the fact that the children find it easier to read when there is a lot of repetition. When writing my short story I made the story have repetition throughout to keep the children involved and able to read the story with comfort.
Over the summer I met with two of my cousins, one of which has dyslexia at the age of 7. This really helped me with my research of my topic seeing as I was able to try and understand the struggles of dyslexia through him trying to read with me. Children with dyslexia, like any other child, they have good ideas but their difficulty with spelling and handwriting usually hold them back which make them have a lack of confidence. A way to help these children is to give them a partner when it comes to working.
When it comes to producing my product, seeing as I am not the best at art I am not fully satisfied with my drawing. I need to get one of my friends (a student) that is good at art to do my drawings seeing as this will give my product a lot more of a professional look. This would also make my product a lot neater therefore making the end result a lot better. My final product is a work in progress and one I believe will help the children with dyslexia read with as much ease as possible.
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