This article is aimed at anyone who…

  • is dyslexic, or thinks they might be
  • wishes to help dyslexic adults to engage with books
  • is interested in ways to engage with books


What are these tips?

  • 7 things that help me to engage with any book;
  • 3 things that help me to engage with non-fiction books; and
  • 3 things that motivate me to engage with books

7 things that help me to engage with any book

  • Being aware that reading and comprehension are different things

– Reading is decoding words; comprehension is taking in their meaning

  • Using self-help resources for reading print books

E.g. the reading and comprehension toolkits in the book

‘Making Dyslexia Work for You’[1]

  • Addressing my visual conditions

– By tracking print and using a coloured overlay.

Many dyslexic people have visual conditions as well as dyslexia.

  • Using alternative formats

– These can be particularly helpful with certain genres.

E.g. I find audio good for classics, and graphic novels good for historical non-fiction

  • Using strategies

E.g. watching a ‘SparkNotes’ video to gain the gist of a book before reading it in print

  • Quality narrative

– Good stories well told e.g. Charles Dickens’ novels

  • Dyslexia-friendly features

E.g. maps; chapter headings; and illustrated lists of characters, such as the one in A Christmas Carol: the graphic novel[2]


3 things that help me to engage with non-fiction books

  • Personalisation of history

– Telling the story from an individual’s perspective.

E.g. ‘Maus’[3]

  • Biography and autobiography

E.g. ‘Bridge Across my Sorrows’[4]

  • Contextualisation of abstract material

– Presenting subject matter within the context of a person’s life.  E.g.

  1. Bertrand Russell’s mathematical logic in ‘Logicomix’[5]
  2. Marie Curie’s discovery of radioactivity in ‘Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: a tale of love and fallout’[6].


3 things that motivate me to engage with books

  • An awareness that engaging with books is doable and good for me
  • Self-motivation

– Succeeding with books makes me want to continue engaging with them

  • Engaging with books with or alongside other people

E.g. at drop-ins, gatherings, groups, spaces and story cafés

For more tips on engaging with books

– See ‘5 steps to engage with books – for dyslexic adults

[1] Routledge, 2012 ISBN 978-0415597562

[2] Classical Comics Ltd., 2008.  ISBN 978-1906332174

[3] Penguin, 2003.  ISBN 978-0141014081

[4] John Murray, 2013.  ISBN 978-1848548404

[5] Bloomsbury, 2009.  ISBN 978-0747597209

[6] HarperCollins, 2015.  ISBN 978-0062416162

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Dyslexia | Dyslexic Advantage