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We have collated what we think are some of the best Super-Readable titles all of which are also dyslexia friendly. They are all specifically written to help readers who have visual stress and for dyslexic readers to enjoy reading. The age ranges shown 5+, 7+, 9+, 11+ and Teen represent the interest age applicable, whilst the reading age for each title is detailed within the review. This generally ranges between 5 and 8 years. The Interest Age (IA) and Reading Age (RA) are also shown subtly on the back of every book running down the right hand edge of the barcode.
May 2020 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | It’s exactly fifty years since the infamous Apollo 13 space mission took off for the moon. For any young person who doesn’t know what happened – and indeed for those that do too – David Long’s retelling will keep them on the edge of their seats, awed by the challenges of space travel, and by the ingenuity and determination of those who work in it. Survival in Space describes with just the right level of detail, how a broken electrical wire led to the explosion that left astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise stranded 200,000 miles from home, and how they and the team on earth worked to engineer their eventual successful return. In Barrington Stoke style, this is accessible to all readers, including those with dyslexia, but is without any trace of simplification. David Long has a great track record in non-fiction and this will be another firm favourite. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+
February 2020 Book of the Month | Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | This little story sparkles with magic and fun. It starts on Hallowe’en when friends Jessie and Ali find something very unexpected in their treat bucket – a little kitten. What’s even more surprising, the kitten is magic and can talk. They take the perfectly named Magicat home and all sorts of adventures follow – sheds are turned into treehouses, pancakes are cooked (almost) and the bully next door is put in his place. It’s all made even more exciting because Magicat isn’t quite as expert at the magic thing as he’d have you believe and some of the spells go delightfully wrong. Purrfect for newly confident readers as well as for those who are reluctant or dyslexic. Let’s hope there are more adventures to come for Magicat and his friends. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2020 | January 2020 Book of the Month | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 9 | Award-winning author Tanya Landman captures the high drama and deep romance of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel Jane Eyre is this fresh retelling. While in the setting of the story and the overarching plot and twists that propel it she is faithful to the time and place of the original and to the feel of both, she has given Jane a boldness and independence that is both entirely in keeping with the original and refreshingly modern.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2019 | Full of Meg Rosoff’s delightful wit and evident affection for dogs, the is a great return for McTavish the big-hearted rescue dog who is already well-known for the good care he takes of all those around him. This time it is Betty who needs help. When Pa Peachey gets a new job the whole family is upheaved. Everyone is excited about it except for Betty. Not only has she got to move house but she also to say goodbye to her old friends and go to a new school. Betty does not want to be the new girl: she is terrified. Luckily, McTavish thinks of the best possible way to turn her arrival at a new school into a triumph rather than a catastrophe.
Interest Age 8+ Reading age 8 | Chris Priestley is a superb teller of ghost stories and knows just how to bring the uncanny into the ordinary, or turn the homely suddenly horrifying. A tour for talented young writers round a haunted house is the backdrop for this collection of linked stories. Each of the seven ghosts we meet is a child, each of their stories is different and each is guaranteed to send shivers up the spine or have you nervously checking over your shoulder in the dark. Written for dyslexia-specialists Barrington Stoke, this will enthrall even the most reluctant or struggling reader and concludes with a fantastically chilling twist. It’s the season for ghost stories, and this is required reading for fans of the genre.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | September 2019 Book of the Month | Short and, in Barrington Stoke style, accessible to all readers, Tin Boy is a powerful and inspiring story, and one that will get children thinking about the world and their place in it. The hero Tono lives in the Indonesian province of Bangka Belitung and, though he’s only a boy, goes to work to each day, swimming down to mine tin by hand from deep under sea. It’s dangerous work and caught in an accident, he’s lucky to survive. That luck, together with something he finds on the seabed, changes his life. It’s a gripping story, that both vividly describes Tono’s life and plays with the idea of superheroes in a way that will resonate with all readers. Readers who enjoy Tono’s story should also look out for Kick by Mitch Johnson.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | Elizabeth Wein’s thrilling new World War II story stars a young Polish pilot – a female one. Kristina Tomiak and her twin brother are members of the White Eagles, Poland’s air force, and at the forefront of their country’s resistance when the Nazis invade. Things quickly turn bad and Kristina is forced to flee in her RWD-8 plane, together with an unexpected passenger. As she makes her escape, her destination changes until finally she is heading towards England. The story is full of excitement and gives readers a broad yet detailed understanding of those early days of the war, and of flying a plane too. Published by Barrington Stoke this is written to be accessible to all readers including those with dyslexia but I recommend it to any reader fascinated by history and the brave individuals who make it.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Nothing is what it seems in Alex Bell’s spritely, spooky novella that sees a girl figure out the sinister secrets of a toy factory. An atmosphere of underlying mystery is keenly evoked from the off: “The children of Cherryville all knew the factory was an evil place. Something awful had happened inside five years ago. It was something kids still whispered about in the playground and used to frighten each other at sleepovers.” And in the way of all creepy rumours, “None of the children in the town knew the truth for sure. They just knew that they should stay away from that factory.” Unfortunately for Tess, she and her younger siblings are forced to work in the factory when its reopening ominously coincides with her family’s farm falling on hard times. With its eccentric Willy Wonka-esque owner mysteriously only employing under twelve-year-olds, what else can they do? Inside the factory, it’s not long before all manner of terrifying events unfold, and all creepy fingers point to the teddy bears being behind them. Though short in length, this is big in impact: how’s this for an evocative description: “And the smell of damp gave way to the scent of goblin, which was something like black pepper and toffee apples mixed up together”? The story sprints to tense end, with a final twist in the tale that would give Roald Dahl a run for his money. And, being published by Barrington Stoke, it’s written and designed with reluctant and dyslexic readers in mind. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month August 2019 | Interest Age 5-8 | Pirates ahoy! This is a lively, swashbuckling story with great characters and a pacey story – all vibrantly illustrated in an attractive and easy-to-read, small size book. Barbarous Bertha is a fearsome pirate as well as the guardian of a wide stretch of emerald green sea and the Purple Shell Islands which are home to both people and special animals and birds. It is no surprise therefore that her daughter Molly Rogers is never going to stand for anyone who threatens to invade the islands or destroy their inhabitants. When reports come of Captain Firebird doing damage to Monkey Skull Island, Molly Rogers enlists all of her best animal and bird friends – including Kracken the octopus – to chase down Captain Firebird and to make sure he never does anything so dastardly again.
Interest Age 5-8 | There’s poignancy as well as humour in this new story from Jonathan Meres. Young Frank is desperate for a new bike, but he knows that money doesn’t grow on trees, so when his big sister offers to pay him to help with her paper round, he agrees. Despite the 6.00am starts, it’s actually good fun and both Frank and Lottie are excited when they make friends with an old lady as they deliver papers to her care home. Their friendship proves very important as the story reaches its end. There’s lots to enjoy here, the story is short but very rewarding and Meres’ understanding of his readers is spot on.
Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8 | Even a dog as clever as McTavish has his work cut out for him looking after the Peacheys. In this new instalment of witty, sharply observed domestic drama, Mr Peachey has developed a passion – indeed, an obsession – with baking. He is convinced he will win the local bake-off with his entry, a recreation of the Palace of Versailles in gingerbread. His family are only too aware that his skill as a baker falls far short of his ambition. Fortunately, McTavish is prepared to do whatever it takes to save Mr Peachey from disaster and humiliation. McTavish’s dog’s-eye view of family life is very funny but also cleverly delivers shrewd messages for us all on how to get along. Delicious!
There’s all the fun of the circus in Alexander McCall Smith’s new series, and a satisfying bit of junior sleuthing. Young Billy, Fern and Joe are performers in their family circus, but there’s a bit of Sherlock Holmes about them too: as their friend Mr Birdcage points out, they’re clever, and they like helping people. So when they notice a sad boy in the audience and find out his granny has gone missing, they set about finding her, using some of their circus skills in the process. Readers will be delighted to know that the circus’s troupe of dog stars play a part as well. It’s a lovely story and as ever filled with the all-embracing sense of kindness and integrity that is characteristic of McCall Smith’s writing.
For over 20 years Barrington Stoke has been publishing super-readable books to help every child unlock a love of reading. Alongside brilliant and engaging stories from the best writers, their books contain a whole host of specialist features designed to help dyslexic readers. From a design perspective, their books:
- Use a unique, dyslexia-friendly font specially created to make reading easier
- Have accessible layouts and spacing to stop the page from becoming overcrowded
- Are made with heavier paper with a gentle tint to help reduce visual stresses.
Barrington Stoke books are expertly edited to ensure unnecessary words don’t hinder comprehension while the text will still challenge the reader.
The books feature lots of illustration to break up the text and keep the story moving.
The stories utilise short, sharp, unpatronising content matched to the age of the reader not their reading level.
For further information on Barrington Stoke barringtonstoke.co.uk.