Students may be unmotivated or see reading as of little value. They may lack visual acuity, vocabulary or comprehension skills, or be ESL learners. They may be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or have a learning disability, such as dyslexia. Whatever reason they struggle with reading in and outside of the classroom, large print can serve as a catalyst to improved literacy skills. This can be comforting not only for the struggling reader, but for the teachers and parents encouraging them as well.
Like other reading and literacy strategies, such as phonics for example, large print demonstrates that less can be more. The titles that Thorndike Press offers are what the striving readers’ peers are reading. The books themselves are similar in size and weight as standard print with the same cover art. Plus, the combination of a larger font and increased white space on a page helps readers:
Decode words. With fewer words per page, large print books make the process of visualizing information easier for struggling readers. Word recognition increases as the reader can sound out words for effectively.
Improve tracking and reading fluency. Larger fonts and increased spacing force the eye to move more slowly to help a reader avoid skipping or re-reading lines.2
Develop greater reading comprehension. Once decoding errors are eliminated and fluency improves, struggling readers can focus on the meaning of the text and vocabulary.
Transitioning from beginner level books to the smaller font of young adult titles can seem overwhelming to some readers. There’s no step in between to prepare them for standard print. Large print can serve as that steppingstone as well as provide an alternative to digital formats. Here are a few ways large print can benefit readers of all ages and abilities:
Maintain focus. While technology can encourage student engagement, it may also be distracting to some readers. A growing number of studies suggest memory and reading comprehension are better when material is consumed through print versus digital means.3 Text on paper is more easily navigable; words occupy a physical space and location recall is associated with meaning cognition.4
Reduce eye strain. Along with a larger font and more white space between sentences, large print books from Thorndike Press feature a serif typeface. This often improves legibility, and provides breathing room for the eye, which in turn can help reduce eye fatigue during extended periods of reading.5
Lessen digital dependence. According to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, eight- to eighteen-year-olds spend an average of 7.5 hours in front of a screen each day.6 This print strategy gives students a break from their reliance on digital devices in and out of the classroom. That’s something parents can appreciate, too!