School is based on the presumption that all pupils are able to read after the first grades. Most of the learning materials are written, although visual methods and materials are increasingly used in classrooms.
For a person with dyslexia school might be a challenge, when reading is difficult and slow. Letters change places and jump on the line. Is reading the only way to learn, or are there other possibilities?
Reading difficulties and learning difficulties are not the same kind of challenge. It is important to emphasize the difference, because they are often mixed up.
A person with dyslexia can have difficulties with reading, but no problems with learning, if the materials are presented in another way.
A person with learning difficulties might have problems with memory (short- or long-term), disabilities, difficulties concentrating or other challenges, which make learning difficult.
Reading and learning difficulties should therefore not automatically be seen as the same thing, but the reasons should be studied and challenges identified.
For a person with dyslexia, a solution could be to use more visual and audio materials. If a family member or members read together with the pupil, or the text is read aloud, knowledge can be acquired without having to spend hours in trying to decode a single page.
But it is not enough to read aloud and use various materials. People with dyslexia need to train their reading and writing skills. Reading, which causes stress and is tiring in the beginning, gradually becomes less challenging. Perseverance and patience increase, and the people with dyslexia learns to handle both texts and their difficulties in reading them.
Multimodality and multiliteracy
Multimodality and multiliteracy include communication, which is not only based on speech and text, but also on other forms of transmission of content or information. When a pupil finds it difficult to understand a written text in the standard language, an Easy to Read book could support the acquisition of knowledge.
Easy to Read books are not only fiction; there are many books which have both facts and fiction or only facts. The books combine a specific form of text and picture, and often there are also extra materials such as tasks, questions about the text and games. By working with text and content in various ways, the pupil learns both the language and the information provided in an Easy to Read book.
When a pupil manages to read an Easy to Read book and solve the tasks, reading starts feeling more manageable and this emotion increases the interest to read more. A pupil with reading difficulties, who has succeeded in reading and understanding one Easy to Read book, will perhaps soon succeed in reading another, and then also a book in standard language.
The project LäsLätt (ReadEasy) 2.1 for informing about Easy to Read is realised by Bokpil and Colorit ry.rf. and supported by The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland.