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Dyslexic Readers

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Booklist: Dyslexia Friendly Books

On this booklist, we feature a selection of recommended books that have been specially designed for dyslexic readers by the experts at Barrington Stoke. All of the books on this list have a dyslexia-friendly layout, typeface and paperstock, so that even more readers can enjoy them. Scroll down to find the best books for dyslexic readers in KS1, lower KS2 and upper KS2.

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Dyslexia-friendly books for KS1 (age 5-7)

Katherine Woodfine
 & Rebecca Cobb
Chapter book
Elisabeth loves to paint, just like her papa. She spends hours making her own pictures of everything she sees - and the more colourful, the better!But when she goes away to school, she finds herself in a world of grey: grey buildings, grey uniforms, grey rooms. She misses Papa and all the colours of home. And one winter morning, she gets some terrible news that makes her days darker than ever before. Will Elisabeth be able to find the colour and joy in her life again?A touching tale about friendship, family and finding joy in the darkest of times. Inspired by the childhood of French portrait artist Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun.
Phil Earle
 & Steve May
Chapter book
It's not easy having a dad who is the greatest superhero in the world. For six days a week, Stanley 's dad works hard at saving the planet from disasters and supervillains, but Friday is his day off and that means father-and-son time. But one Friday, Stanley finds himself caught up in some superhero adventures of his own. This exciting adventure story makes a brilliant first chapter book for children who love superheroes!
Ross Montgomery
 & Marisa Morea
Chapter book
A thwarted thespian must use his talents to save his flock from a woolly situation in this hilarious gem from bestselling children’s author Ross Montgomery.William the lamb just can’t stand still. His feet are always tapping, ready to dance, and he loves nothing more than bursting into song. But his talents aren’t always appreciated at Sheep School. Cast out of the flock, he wanders miserably away only to witness the rest of the sheep being captured by the Big Bad Wolf. Can William find a way to put his artistic skills to use to save the day?
Jeremy Strong
 & Jamie Smith
Chapter book

There is something about Jeremy Strong books, they have a particular appeal, being both entertaining and slightly wacky. This book is in that same mould and in addition, the format is super child friendly, being both small in size but very inviting and looking like a ‘proper chapter book’!

Nellie Choc-Ice is a well-travelled penguin, who also happens to be slightly accident-prone and just wants to find her way home. Nellie is a very endearing and entertaining character and the illustrations should get a special mention here. They capture the essence of the story brilliantly and bring the whole book to life.

For its target age of 5-8 year-olds, it works perfectly as an early chapter book; not taking too long to plough through, but instead giving the text in manageable bites with colour illustrations and an easy-to-read font. This is part of a Barrington Stoke set of Little Gems books, designed specifically for young readers starting out reading independently.

Dyslexia-friendly books for lower KS2 (age 7-9)

Frank Cottrell Boyce
 & Cate James
Chapter book
Ted thinks there’s something fishy going on. Ever since his birthday when he got a special loyalty card at the local shop, all his great ideas are being thought of by the new Prime Minister too. Now there’s laws about walking to school and everyone has Mondays off! Could the shop’s market research lady have anything to do with it? And if Ted has become a Leader, shouldn’t he start thinking up proper laws to save the world...A hilarious comedy caper from Frank Cottrell-Boyce, now in a format particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 7+.
Tanya Landman
 & Sonia Albert
Chapter book
Meg treasures every moment that she gets to spend riding, and she has always longed for a pony of her own.She knows Mum and Dad can’t afford a pony – they can’t even afford her weekly riding lessons any more. But on the morning of her tenth birthday, Meg looks out the window to an unbelievable sight … a pony standing in the front garden. Have all of Meg’s wishes come true?Award-winning author Tanya Landman brings a fresh perspective to horse-riding stories with a heart-warming new series about friendship and dreaming big.
Tony Bradman
 & Tania Rex
Chapter book

World War 2 is the setting for this short, dyslexia-friendly chapter book and is a common history topic in schools. Many of the great books for primary-aged children set in this era may be too challenging for some readers and so this book enables children to catch a glimpse of life during the war and also learn about some of the important features of life: rationing; schools; the changing roles of adults; evacuation and the black market (through the unique storyline of a girl trying to get hold of a banana in times when all food was in short supply).

Vocabulary that may be unfamiliar to children is explained as part of the storyline, for example explaining who the ‘yanks’ were. In addition, there are a few ‘notes’ at the end of the book that provide a simple overview of the period in history and also a clear explanation of money before decimalisation.

The focus of the story is a young girl’s concern and care for her mum at a time of great stress and strain on family life, where dad is away fighting in the war and mum has taken on a new job, working long hours in the factory. There are many parallels that the modern reader could draw with their own experiences. The print is clear without too many words on the page. The book is illustrated by Tania Rex and the pictures will support the reluctant readers’ engagement as well as enable a child’s first step into reading a chapter book, to be scaffolded.

Author Tony Bradman also visited our blog recently to talk about why there should always be a gap on the shelf for books that help readers see the bigger picture of the war from a new lens.

Karen McCombie
 & Anneli Bray
Chapter book
Tyra gets off to a tough start at her new school. She’s loud and different and nobody seems to be particularly friendly. So when her nan gives her a beautiful china snow dragon, Tyra decides to take it to school, hoping that people will think it’s interesting and talk to her. But disaster strikes and the beautiful dragon is smashed. Can Tyra find a way to repair her treasure while also making some new friends along the way?

​Dyslexia-friendly books for upper KS2 (age 9-11)

Katya Balen
 & Richard Johnson
Chapter book
The blackbirds’ song uplifts and restores in this captivating novella from one of the most exciting voices in children’s fiction.After a devastating car crash, Annie is unable to play her flute and retreats from the music she’s always loved.She exists in a world of angry silence – furious with her mum and furious she can’t seem to play her beloved flute any more.Then she meets Noah, who shows her the blackbirds’ nest hidden in the scrubland near their flats. As their friendship grows, the blackbirds’ glorious song reignites Annie’s passion for music. But when tragedy strikes again, will her fragile progress be put at risk?
Catherine Johnson
 & Katie Hickey
Chapter book Dyslexia-friendly

Olaudah Equiano was cruelly snatched from his home in Essaka, Africa, aged only 11, in 1756. Initially taken with his older sister, Ifeoma, they soon became separated. Olaudah never heard from her again. From there he was taken to England, first enduring a long voyage where he was treated horribly, along with the other slaves. He was sold several times before being taken to America to be a house slave. The master was cruel and the slaves were too scared to even speak to each other. Next he was bought by an English naval officer and taken to sea. Here he finally made friends and began to learn to read and write, as well as experiencing many adventures and great peril.

Olaudah’s story does not end there. He is bought and sold a couple more times before he is taken to the West Indies. Here he sees a chance of freedom. It turns out he has a flair for business and becomes his master’s trusted slave. Working hard, he finally earns enough money to buy his freedom and returns to England as a free man. Here he wrote a book about his experiences and worked hard in the campaign against slavery.

This is an incredible true story, vividly brought to life by Catherine Johnson. It would be a brilliant addition to any UKS2 or KS3 classroom, especially if studying slavery. A difficult subject matter sensitively brought to life for children.

Jenny Pearson
 & Aleksei Bitskoff
Chapter book
Bertie is NOT looking forward to spending the summer holidays on stinky Long Bottom Farm. But things take an interesting turn when he encounters Nugget, the alien chicken. Nugget’s mission is to find the Earth’s most important resource and transport it back to Nurgle 7, and he needs Bertie’s help. But what could the Earth’s most valuable resource be, and can they find it in time to stop the Nurgles exterminating the Earth?!A hilarious and heartfelt tale from Lollie-award-winning author Jenny Pearson.
Tom Palmer
 & Tom Clohosy Cole
Chapter book
As the brutal Second World War stretches on with no end in sight, life for ordinary Dutch people in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands is fraught with peril and hardship. There is very little to eat and the population lives under the constant threat of arrest and enslavement.After the murder of her beloved uncle and the capture of her brother by the Germans, Edda is determined to do anything she can to help the resistance fight back against their oppressors. But what can a teenage girl do and how much risk is she willing to take?Award-winning author Tom Palmer shines a light on the incredible work of the WWll Dutch resistance, in a story inspired by the childhood of Hollywood legend Audrey Hepburn.

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