Engaging and Educating Librarians about Dyslexia
In the fall of 2016, the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity embarked on a pilot program in Atlanta-area libraries. The objective: to improve the knowledge and awareness of dyslexia among public librarians, enabling them to appropriately support the struggling readers who may or may not be identified as dyslexic.
YCDC targeted libraries as a way to further dyslexia awareness outside of schools. Librarians are often the first to hear about a young child’s lack of interest in reading, and libraries often open their doors as a place for tutoring and education. By disseminating relevant, scientifically proven and trustworthy information on dyslexia, YCDC aims to educate librarians and provide materials they can distribute to the community.
Among the materials distributed to the libraries in the pilot program were postcards describing some of the signs of dyslexia, the book Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D., the Center’s compilation of inspiring dyslexic’s stories, Dyslexia: Profiles of Success (third edition), and the award-winning dyslexia documentary The Big Picture. The materials were accompanied by a note to the librarians, which conveyed these key points:
- One in five people has dyslexia.
That means that many library patrons, including young children, might be struggling with dyslexia. Learn more about dyslexia (Link to Dyslexia Section).
- As lifelong learners engaged in the community, librarians can help.
YCDC encouraged librarians to learn about dyslexia, including what to look for and what questions to ask when identifying books and resources for children and families.
- Visit YCDC online at dyslexia.yale.edu to find trustworthy, useful and engaging information about dyslexia.
The website explains what dyslexia is, including research, advocacy tips and more to help dyslexic individuals navigate this lifelong journey.
As part of the follow-up, YCDC sent emails with information and links to additional videos featuring conversations among YCDC co-directors Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz, and public and school librarians. A program consisting of a screening of The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia and a post-viewing discussion with dyslexia ambassadors, dyslexic students and dyslexia experts is being planned.
Other pilot cities for YCDC’s Library Initiative are forthcoming.