The Library Masquerade (and how to find the right book for your dyslexic learner)

Mar 21, 2024
Choosing the right book for your dyslexic child

 Don't feel like reading? Watch related video: What Are High/Low Books?

Typically, elementary school-age kids get time to go visit the school library with their class a few times per month. During this time, children are allowed to browse the shelves and pick out books to read for enjoyment.  Somewhere around 2nd grade, there becomes a bit of showmanship added to it.  By that age,  kids understand if they are one of the advanced readers, one of the struggling readers or somewhere in the middle. Whether we want to admit if or not, their self-esteem is impacted by this, either in a positive or a negative way.  When they get to library time, the kids who are insecure about their reading can try to redeem their intellectual social status by picking out big thick chapter books for all to see.  Haven't we all heard kids brag about reading a book that's 100 or 200 or 300 pages long? It’s all part of the primal human need to fit in and to feel capable.

Because of this weekly library masquerade, week after week my daughter would come home with books far above her independent reading level because classmates were grabbing books from that section. In truth, the books were probably above most of their independent reading levels but again, it's about the show.  Never once did I discourage her from doing this,  but it got me wondering how to best find my dyslexic child suitable books.  

Here's what I've learned:

  • The early grades are easy. In K and grade 1, everyone is reading picture books. 

  • In 2nd and 3rd grade, many kids proudly announce they’ve moved from picture books to chapter books.  At this stage it starts to get tricky for the child still working on more basic reading skills like decoding,  there are still options for those who prefer less complex text or text that requires reading stamina. Graphic novels are a great example of this.

  • Grades 4-8 can be really tough. This is when kids would be mortified to be seen reading “baby books”.  Aside from the embarrassment, the topics of the more basic books are not interesting enough for their more sophisticated brains now.  They want to read fantasy, mystery, adventure, and biographies, but these just don’t come in a format that is friendly for kids who still working on emerging reading skills.  

A solution:  “High/Low Books”.  

High-low books are books that have engaging, age-appropriate topics (HIGH INTEREST)  written in words and sentence structures that are simpler (LOW READING LEVEL). Reading Rockets has a list of High/Low publishers on their website High/Low Books for Children | Reading Rockets, or you can just search “High/Low books” on Google.  You can also talk to your child’s teacher or school librarian to see if they can get some of these books into your child’s hands.

 

Before I sign off from this blog, I’d like to clarify that there is NOTHING wrong with a child bringing home a book that is above their reading level.  This can be wonderful for a few reasons:

  1. It gives you insight into their topics of interest.

  2. It gives you the opportunity to read aloud with your child which is great for their relationship with you and their relationship with reading.

  3. It will expose them to new vocabulary and new concepts/knowledge.  This is HUGE for helping children with dyslexia. Read more Two Ways to Improve Reading Without Books


Happy book hunting!

If you want to chat more about this or any other topics, DM me on Instagram @parentingdyslexia360

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