'Clearer and Better': Preferences of children with reading difficulties for the typography and illustration in literacy materials

Myra Thiessen, Mary C. Dyson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Preference influences how an individual chooses graphic material and is therefore an important consideration in the design of literacy materials for children with reading difficulties, such as those associated with dyslexia. However, little is known about what this group of children like and dislike about the typography and the illustrations in their reading materials. Children with reading difficulties are likely to be less motivated to practise their literacy skills, and as fluency in literacy can only be gained through practice, it is important to understand how reading materials can be created that these children will be more motivated to read. Through case-studies of six children with reading difficulties, their typographic (parts one and two) and illustrative (part three) preferences were tested. Parts one and two were concerned with the effects of typesetting and looked at the influence of letter, word, and line spacing, and also type size. The typographic preferences of these six children were analysed and were then compared to their reading performance. Part three focused on the illustrative preferences of these children and looked at the use of colour and the level of detail included in this kind of visual information. By creating reading materials that correspond to the preferences of children with reading difficulties it is more likely that they will be motivated to read those books. These casestudies are part of ongoing research into the development of alternative materials for teaching literacy skills to children with dyslexia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-384
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Learning
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Design
  • Dyslexia
  • Illustration
  • Literacy
  • Typography

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