Preferences of Children with Reading Difficulties for the Typography and Illustration in Literacy Materials

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Preference influences how an individual chooses graphic material and is therefore an important consideration in the design of literacy materials for children with reading difficulties, such as those associated with dyslexia. However, little is know about what this group of children like and dislike about the typography and the illustrations in their reading materials. Design decisions are often made by adults with fluent literacy skills, and with little or no consultation of the intended reader. Children with reading difficulties are likely to be less motivated to practise their literacy skills, and as fluency in literacy can only be gained through practice, it is important to understand how reading materials can be created that these children will be more motivated to read. Through case-studies of six children with reading difficulties, their typographic (part one) and illustrative (part two) preferences were tested. Part one was concerned with the effects of typesetting and looked at the influence of letter, word, and line spacing, and also type size. The typographic preferences of these six children were analysed and were then compared to their reading performance. Part two focused on the illustrative preferences of these children and looked at the use of colour and the level of detail included in this kind of visual information. By creating reading materials that correspond to the preferences of children with reading difficulties it is more likely that they will be motivated to read those books. These case-studies are part of ongoing research into the development of alternative materials for teaching literacy skills to children with dyslexia.

Keywords: Literacy, Dyslexia, Typography, Illustration, Design
Stream: Special Education, Learning Difficulties, Disability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: ‘Clearer and Better’

Dr. Myra Thiessen

Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, University of Reading
Reading, UK

Dr. Mary C. Dyson

Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, University of Reading
Reading, UK

Ref: L09P1284