Creating activity books for children with Dyslexia

We recently finished our workshops at a school working with Dyslexic students aged 11 - 13, developing an activity book designed to guide them through the process of creating a story, which uses the Mayfly technology. Our aim is to produce an activity book that removes the pressure of writing, so that ideas and spontaneity are a priority. We want to encourage children to explore their imaginations through their senses; to create stories using sound and images.

We visited a school over three weeks for 2 hour workshops in which we took the students through a variety of exercises to think about how sound can portray atmosphere, location and character and to create a five part story. We used a Dyslexia friendly format in the activity book to make it accessible to children with Specific Learning Difficulties, but we also intend for the activity books to have a wider appeal.

The activities involved them going outside to listen and record atmospheric sounds, and creating sounds with their voices and bodies.

‘I thought it was really interesting to do that, because we don’t sit in the classroom and think oh what can we hear. So the different activities were nice to gain different ideas’
- Teacher

The second week involved creating a location with sounds, using props and instruments as well as their voices and bodies. They then created characters by drawing them and recording sentences that their characters would say. 

All of these exercises built up to creating a 5 part story which felt rich in detail because we had worked through the different aspects that make up a story: location, character and an event. We provided dressing up materials, plasticine and colouring equipment for the students to create images for photos, really benefitting the visual learners as well as the auditory learners.

There was a noticeable difference in the students’ confidence in participating from the start to the end of the series of workshops and the feedback from the students after the workshops was really positive:

‘I liked how it was presented in the book, because it was pretty easy to find where to put the stickers...I think it was well organised’

‘I liked how we had to put the stickers in... I think to put the stickers in the activity book was useful because then you can just put the camera over them and it takes you straight to it’

‘I like the whole app, because it took you through different activities and I think that a lot of other people would like that’

‘I think it would suit older than our age and our age’

Join us on 13th October, 2.00pm - 5.30pm at the Wills Memorial building, Bristol for the Brigstow Institute Launch to hear more about this project and others like it.

- Alison Cowling

ActivitiesBarney Heywood