Blogs About Reading
Aiming for Access
June Behrmann is a longtime special education teacher (pre-K to grade 6) who retired for about two seconds, and is now prospecting for accessible instructional resources. Follow June on Twitter @aimnoncat. Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials for sharing this blog with us.
9 Irresistible "Accessible Books in Print" Ideas to Delight Learners Who Struggle To Read
When high-tech solutions are set aside, a low-tech book picking-strategy can fuel literacy instruction. This list of best books in print for struggling readers is shared by an experienced special education teacher of students with dyslexia.
Truth is &151; "for reluctant readers, cracking open new books is like running the gauntlet. Will they be able to read it? Will it make sense? Will they feel embarrassed if they can’t finish the book?" A California-based education specialist, Anne-Marie Morey, offers "9 Books Kids Actually Want to Read" on her blog at Bay Tree Learning.
Gifting Print Books?
Holiday time can be a perfect time to find great books for children, she says. "If you’re the parent or teacher of a child who struggles to read, a book might not seem like much of a gift."
Her recommendations are proven to entice struggling readers, including students with dyslexia and learning disabilities. This low-tech strategy relies on books that children can open anywhere and simply enjoy the content of mostly photographs, illustrations, and puzzles. These are books in print where is it O.K. to skip text or images that confuse and, instead, move to pages that please.
"These books are so compelling," she says, "that even struggling readers want to read a sentence or two" from the printed pages. The text presents no pressure. There is no expectation that a reader must start at page one and finish the entire book.
"I've collected my favorite books that kids pick up by themselves. These books don't need an introduction. Just leave them in a room, and children will want to investigate. The most discriminating of readers — children with dyslexia — have field-tested these books for me. Trust me, if one of my students can't put down a book, it's gotta be good!"
Anne-Marie Morey's 2014 round-up of Best Books for Reluctant Readers from the Bay Tree Blog:
- The Guinness World Records Book 2015, by Guinness World Records:
Find gross and bizarre records that enthrall kids. The newest edition features thousands of new records and hundreds of eye-catching photographs.
- The Lego Book, by Daniel Lipkowitz:
Find crisp, vivid photography, with a visual history of LEGO toys with different play themes featuring LEGO Ninjago, Friends, and Super Heroes. "My copy is only three years old, but it’s already so tattered that I’ll need to purchase a new copy soon."
- Where’s Waldo? The Deluxe Edition, by Martin Handford: Readers hunt through detailed illustrations to find the real Waldo in his hallmark red-and-white striped shirt and hat.
- Ultimate Weird but True: 1,000 Wild & Wacky Facts and Photos, by National Geographic Kids:
Find National Geographic’s photos and fascinating quirky fact for trivia games that spark curiosity and questions.
- I Spy Treasure Hunt: A Book of Picture Riddles, by Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick:
Reluctant readers will have a blast solving visual puzzles depicted on two-page spreads with a riddle and detailed photographic illustration.
- Just Joking: 300 Hilarious Jokes, Tricky Tongue Twisters, and Ridiculous Riddles, by National Geographic Kid:
Find lovable jokes, tongue twisters, and riddles with photos to help readers understand the joke. Large text, limited words, and short jokes make this reading fun as it builds semantic word knowledge.
- Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty, by Joy Masoff and Terry Sirrell:
A friend and colleague Diana Kennedy recommends this knockout title loaded with 200-plus pages of lip curling, eye-popping, gross stuff suited to children in elementary and middle school.
- Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals, by Ed Emberley:
Find loads of illustrations with very few words that show kids of all ages how to draw animals using simple shapes.
- Minecraft: Essential Handbook, by Scholastic:
This reference guide has tips on making shelters, protecting yourself from monsters, and crafting tools, armor, and weapons for one of the most popular games ever devoted to breaking and building blocks.
Anne-Marie Morey is certified by the Association for Educational Therapists. Her training includes Lindamood-Bell® and Orton-Gillingham multisensory reading programs.
When books in print stress students with dyslexia and other disabilities, there is a remedy. In order to meet the needs of these students, free alternatives to print are available when students are found eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and federal copyright laws. Alternatives to print open doors to learning by converting grade-level textbooks and trade books owned by a school into formats that provide access to the curriculum. Some of the 12 possible formats include audiobooks, braille, and full accessible PDFs.
For students with individualized education programs, the decision about reading accommodations like accessible education materials (AEM, formerly AIM) and about assistive technology tools that improve access to the curriculum come at a student's annual planning meeting. It can come sooner if a teacher or parent believes a child has a print disability. To get started, go to the AIM-VA homepage. Every state has a counterpart to AIM-VA. Ask a school administrator for more information.
Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials for sharing this blog with our Reading Rockets audience.