Dyslexia makes letters float, rotate, and flip on a page. It turns M's into W's, q's into p's, and so on. Changing the font-face might be able to help keep the letters in place on the page.
The debate between which is better, eBooks or page turners, has been going on for a few years. The paper books smell better, the aesthetic growing as the pages turn yellow and the ink smudges from where the stories made the reader cry.
The latest bonus in the electronic books versus printed debate is the ability to change fonts. Dyslexic-designed fonts are said to allow for more people to read with ease. There are a few options. OpenDyslexic, Dyslexie, Dyslexia Unscrambled, are just a few.
Dyslexia Unscrambled is a Google Chrome app with more than 1,000 users, and a 4.5 star rating. Dyslexie and OpenDyslexic are more well known. These fonts are designed to keep the letters from floating over a page or screen, by ‘weighing them down’ in their place. The letters are formed thicker in certain places and thinner in others that make it easier to read, make letters like p, q, d, and b easier to tell apart.
Currently there are no formal studies that state success with the fonts. However, many people cheer on the endeavors to help those with dyslexia have an easier time reading. Dyslexie was featured in Istanbul Design Biennial in November, 2014, and creator Christian Boer's work was featured on several news outlets like NBC. Boer was a graphic design student, and has posted a lot of information about how he designed each letter. Boer has presented his typeface and how it could help in a TedTalk, describing how the slight changes in ‘gravity’ helps the reader along. OpenDyslexic’s creator Abelardo Gonzalez is upfront with the lack of research and solid results that dyslexic-fonts have. In his FAQ, he even references the question of if the typeface would work for ‘everyone.’
“No, and I wouldn’t imagine it would. It works for a significantly large amount to warrant continued work on OpenDyslexic. Some people like Comic Sans, Gill Dyslexic, or Verdana more. OpenDyslexic is another option that can be used if it helps you.”
But what OpenDyslexia does is continue updating. The page links a reader to all the research that has been done, and Gonzalez promises to update the fonts with this research. PNAS.org released a study stating that "large letter spaces" helps with dyslexia, and currently OpenDyslexia does have the same spacing practice.
Currently, Dyslexie has over fifteen thousand likes on Facebook; coupling that with the newer OpenDyslexia, these fonts have reached and helped many people in their endeavor to read. It seems that while some don’t see an improvement, many do and that is what keeps these creators going. The users of the apps have a fair amount of praise for them, so they must be doing something right.
Watch Diamond Dallas talk about his dyslexia:
Don't work with children or animals? Sir David Attenborough laughs in the face of danger.
Sir David Attenborough’s adventures are being retold. His time in nature exploring the nooks and crannies of wildlife will now be featured on Storytime, an app with 2.4 million downloads, that is designed for toddlers. With Attenborough’s narration, the Storytime app run by CBeebies (a BBC television network for the under six age group) aims to help young children learn how to read on their iOS and Android screens.
Attenborough has plenty of great stories to tell young children, including the moment where a gorilla sat in his lap. His love of animals and the natural world was exemplified in his creation of the BBC documentary series Zoo Quest, in 1954. Before Zoo Quest, if shows wanted to educate their audiences about animals, the featured creatures would be brought onto a lit stage, uncomfortable and out of their natural habitat. Attenborough wanted that to change, and did so by bringing his show into the animal’s natural domain instead, forever changing the dynamic. His mission and popularity grew exponentially, and he later headlined Eastwards with Attenborough and Life on Earth. Narrating his life’s work through an educational app is an important step in cultivating the next generation's interest in preserving biodiversity on our planet.
So how will toddlers take to a story featuring Attenborough? He is, after all, a 90-year-old man and his target audience is usually those a little older than six. However, some educational studies say this is a good thing. Sesame Street, the educational program that was proven to stop children from falling behind their grade level in school, has always had guest stars that appease parents more than the kids. The show runners explain why on their workshop site.
“Research and long experience shows that when parents are involved in education, children simply learn better.”
This conclusion is everywhere, and in Children's Learning From Educational Television: Sesame Street and Beyond, it was claimed by Thomas Cook and other critics of Sesame Street that any study of the show's effectiveness were skewed by the parents watching with the children.
That is where Sir David Attenborough comes in. While its recognized that the young children may not know who he is, his stories can intrigue them, and their parents will remember being enthralled by him themselves. Enthusiasm is contagious. Both parents and children can be delighted at his stories of lyrebirds, gorillas, komodo dragons, and sloths. It's interactive too—the kid in your life can help Sir Attenborough "pack his adventure kit, move plants aside for him and by tracking the gorillas’ path through the jungle," according to the BBC.
The 5-part miniseries is illustrated by Will Rose, giving it a bright, colorful and happy aesthetic, and the entire Storytime app is directed by Kay Benbow. Benbow expressed the desire to make a full series rather than the resulting miniseries. Sir Attenborough is just too busy of a man for that, so all the energy was focused on the episodes they had time for.
Sir David Attenborough is no stranger to being on the screen, and now he's being introduced to a brand-new generation. The man is used to being thrown in the wild, next to things that snap, bite, and sting. Teaching children to read should be no challenge at all.