Monthly Archives: November 2019

Managing Dyslexia Community Group

Guest blogger Vanessa Goddard, who leads the Managing Dyslexia Community Group at Sandal Library, updates on the progress the group is making.

I can’t believe it’s now 2 years since my last library blog! Managing Dyslexia community group is now in its 4th year and I’m delighted to say that we started our second group almost 2 years ago. We continue to be fully supported by library services and the classes run on Tuesday morning and afternoon every week in Sandal library.

Things have continued to develop since my first blog. We run our weekly ‘Reading Group’ with books kindly provided by the library. The publisher, Barrington Stoke’ produce books specifically for children and adults with dyslexia. Their books are all printed on cream coloured paper using an evenly spaced font (Comic Sans), all of which make reading much easier on the eye for those with dyslexia. Most of the adults in the group had never read aloud in front of others, so I am thrilled that many of them are now willing to do so.

Those with dyslexia can struggle with black print on white paper, they can easily lose their place, they have to decode ever y word as nothing comes automatically and they can struggle to interpret the meaning of text. It is not surprising, therefore, that reading aloud has always been a chore and bad memories from school made them very reluctant. We now read every week in class. They are comfortable and relaxed amongst friends in the group and are reading from ‘dyslexia friendly’ books.

Our recent favourites have been ‘White Feather’ by Catherine and David MacPhail. A tale of the First World War and someone wrongly branded a traitor. It’s an excellent book that really got us all talking. We are now reading ‘Brock’ by Anthony McGowan. It’s a moving tale of one boy’s determination to save a badger cub, and protect his brother, from the hands of the local thugs. This book covers some really sensitive issues but is written through the eyes of a teenage boy so there is some real comedy to have us all laughing out loud, and helping my learners to start to enjoy reading.

Our groups work tirelessly to break down stigma connected to dyslexia, to prove that having dyslexia has nothing to do with your intelligence and to make it known as a learning difference rather than a learning disability. We have been instrumental in getting local organisations to become more ‘dyslexia friendly’ and I am proud to say that the Recovery College, Wakefield District House and Turning Point now all offer to print any correspondence onto coloured paper, if required.

We originally relied on small grants to keep the groups going but I am happy to say that we are now much more self-sustainable. The self-confidence of the learners has grown immensely and although many struggle with depression and anxiety we now have regular fundraisers. A recent Table Top sale in Sandal library was a great success and we have been welcomed back to the Ridings for a ‘Luxury Gift Tombola’ on Friday 6th December.

We are tackling social anxieties head on and have just booked our Xmas meal in a local restaurant, where we can all celebrate the success of the groups together. We are currently fundraising for the group to attend a Dyslexia Conference at the NEC next March.

Managing Dyslexia also offers Dyslexia Awareness sessions. Two of my learners act as guest speakers and this gives them a real opportunity to tell their story and offer support to others. We deliver the sessions once a term for the Recovery College, part of the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS.

Enquiries about the groups or accessing Managing Dyslexia services, which include screenings and reasonable adjustment reports, tailored to your own individual needs, can be made through Sandal Library or by contacting me directly, see below:.

Tel: 07824 870446


That’s all for now! A big thank you to Library Services, and in particular the staff at Sandal Library, for being instrumental in our continued success.

V L Goddard and Managing Dyslexia

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