Engaging with books 2

Alternative formats It’s important to be able to read and to develop our skills in reading and comprehension. But in addition to traditional print, there are several other formats that books come in, called ‘alternative formats’:
  1. e-books;
  2. audio (audiobooks or live audio);
  3. graphic novels; and
  4. dramatization (audio or audio-visual).
In addition to formats, I find it helpful to think of books in two categories: 1)     How formats and categories help me There is overlap between categories and formats. For example, original books can be in print or alternative formats; and graphic novels can be originals or adaptations. This overlapping nature of formats and categories offers rich potential for dyslexics.  For example, ‘The Man in the Brown Suit’ by Agatha Christie is available in its original in e-book, audiobook and print formats; and also in adaptations in graphic novel and TV drama formats.  This means I can: a)    Watch the TV drama to get the ‘gist’ before reading the print book, or b)    Use the graphic novel and print version together, so that I have visual back-up of the text 2)     Using an alternative format in preference to traditional or electronic print Most dyslexic people find reading difficult to one extent or another. But if we use alternative formats instead of print, not only is there little or no printed text; in its place is a format that works better for us. Alternative formats are more dyslexia-friendly in the following ways: 3)     Aural comprehension In the previous post, we looked at comprehension in the context of reading.  Comprehension can also be aural (i.e. listening).  Your aural comprehension might be much better than your reading comprehension.  So you might take in the content of a book much better and more easily if you listen to it than if you read it in print. Top tip for audio When you listen to books and audio dramatizations, try doing some mindless activity at the same time to keep your mind focussed e.g. housework, knitting, or squeezing a stress ball. For more information on engaging with books in audio format, see sections A – C of Accessing Books – A Guide for Dyslexic Adults.  Conclusion We shouldn’t abandon print format, not least because some books are only available in print. But by using the range of formats available flexibly and strategically, we can enable ourselves to enjoy books.  So let’s: How about you? In the next blog post: We’ll be looking at what helps me to engage with non-fiction.