Beware the child who says "reading is boring". Behind this complaint, says Patience Thomson, founder of the Barrington Stoke publishing house in Edinburgh and former headmistress of Fairley House, a school in London for dyslexic children, may lie other unspoken thoughts: "reading humiliates me, frustrates me, shows me up and makes me miserable."
Barrington Stoke aims to publish for the reluctant reader.The choice of font, print size and the format of each page of text have all been carefully researched. There are frequent paragraph breaks, short chapters and evocative illustrations. The publishers consult with speech and language therapists and orthoptists, teachers and readers themselves and draw on well-known and loved chidren's authors such as Vivian French, Michael Morpurgo and Melvin Burgess.
But books for dyslexics needn't come from a specialist publisher. Patience Thomson says that what they need at base is an engaging story in which they can clearly visualise what is going on with episodes in logical sequence.
Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton are favourites, and more recently J K Rowling's Harry Potter books have set dyslexic readers alight.
Suggested publishers: Ann Arbor Publishers 01668 214 460; Barrington Stoke0131 315 4933; Cambridge University Press - the Cambridge Reading Scheme 01223 312393; Egmont Children's Books 0171 761 3500; Harper Collins, the Jet series 0181 741 7070; Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre 01252 792400; Scholastic Children's Books 0171 421 9000