One of the most common reasons why children with dyslexia fall behind at school and struggle with work is because they have difficulties reading the text in front of them. Certain typefaces in printed books and worksheets can prove confusing to readers with dyslexia, as they jumble and mix up the letters in front of them.
Thankfully, there are now a number of specifically designed typefaces available to make reading and learning a lot easier.
What are dyslexic typefaces?
Typefaces available for download to use at home and in the classroom include:
The most popular of these is Dyslexie, thanks to support by Richard Branson and a number of other media outlets.
Each font has taken the traditional structure of the 26 letters in the alphabet and re-designed the formation of the letters, to make them easy to read and identify for people with dyslexia. This includes adding more weight to certain letters, lengthening ascenders and descenders, and ensuring more space between the curves in letters and the gap between each character.
All of the fonts are slightly different from each other so, if you’re dyslexic, you may find one easier to read than the other.
Why are they important?
Specific fonts for those who experience reading difficulties are extremely useful. Research shows they significantly reduce the likelihood of readers making errors.
In most standard fonts, there are many letters which are very similar to one another. For ease of design:
- letters like b, d, p and q are simply mirrored and reflected
- j is only a slight extension of the letter i
- and the letter u is just the rotated version of the letter n.
For people with dyslexia, these letters are easily confused. By making each letter unique in its own right, it’s harder for dyslexic readers to jumble them up.
How do I use them?
All of the above fonts are available online, and apart from DysLex, they are all free for use at home. Simply download and install them in the word processing programme which you prefer.
Both OpenDyslexic and Lexia Readable are available free for use in education and for charities.
If you wish to use Dyslexie in school you’ll need to buy an education license for €89 a year; this includes the bold and italic versions, which are not part of the free download.
Have you used any specific fonts designed to aid dyslexic readers? Do you have a favourite? Have they made a difference for children in your classroom? Share your comments below.