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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Easy Reading: A Breakthrough for the Reading Disabled

A new font for dyslexics makes sentences a snap.
Sara Bernard
Journalist
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Credit: Hugh D’Andrade

Reading and writing may be cornerstones of an education, but to those afflicted with dyslexia, they're no simple matters.

About 15 to 20 percent of the world's population suffers from a reading disability. Of those, roughly 85 percent are dyslexic, according to the International Dyslexia Association. Dyslexia makes reading even the simplest sentence tricky, as the differentiation of letters and words becomes a confusing tangle.

A new font could help change that: Read Regular treats individual letters as unique shapes so that the traditional uniformity of letters in many fonts doesn't so easily confound the struggling reader. The letter d, for instance, is not a mirror reflection of b, nor is the curve of e exactly like that of c. Ascending and descending letters such as h and p are longer, to ensure legibility, while the spaces in the letters e and o are kept wide open, and g and a don't have extraneous lines and loops. The result is clean, attractive, and decidedly readable.

Read Regular, developed by dyslexic Dutch graphic designer Natascha Frensch, who also compiled the reference book, Read Regular for More Effective Reading and Writing, doesn't stigmatize, as other disability accommodations might. It looks, well, regular, and just plain pretty. Its focus on the uniqueness of each letter, too, can help any youngster -- regardless of ability -- read more quickly and easily. No wonder London's Chrysalis Books has decided to dub the font the standard typeface for all its children's textbooks.

Sara Bernard is a former staff writer and multimedia producer for Edutopia.

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DavisGraham's picture
DavisGraham
A husband and father with the Gift of Dyslexia, Bradenton, Florida

New 'Font' outside of the walls of education seem a bit too much, what about "assistive technology".

Moments ago I received a 23 page contract from a new Healthcare Provider Network, I have the "Gift of Dyslexia" and I have to read this contract before I put my signature on the agreement. No special font, I just highlight and copy to ReadPlease 2003 Plus add my footnotes to the document and send it back with my questions in the footnotes and move on.
Or if the contract is too wordy I will then paste the contract into Balabolka because it reads up to 510 words a minute, so I don't lose my comprehension by my mind drifting; most contract contain a lot of fluff.

The key to unlocking the Gift of Dyslexia is to create an environment which enables me or the person with dyslexia the ability to read. Who wears glasses, this is in someone's world assistive technology. Who and what gave Stephen Hawking the ability to pour out new insight to the Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics departments at the University of Cambridge and the world?

We are on the edge of the digital age where we can power up all students by advocating technology, but as it stands we are asking students in most academic settings to "power down". Who can bring it better than those who have mastered it, through achievement.

Bookshare.org is doing such, all should embrace it with passion, and if you want to know the outcome, ask me or visit My travels with the "gift of dyslexia: www.manateediagnostic.com/davisgraham.aspx and my blog at www.mygiftofdyslexia.blogspot.com

All who touch a child with the Gift of Dyslexia have the ability to send them to the boardrooms or prison cells, I was blessed with compassionate ears and hearts, so my path has placed me in the boardroom.

"Once I was lost now I am found, once was blind to the written word, now I read."

Sincerely,
Davis W. Graham

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