Edmonds Kind of Play: Resources for young readers, including those with dyslexia

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Reading with Rover volunteers and their dogs share the joy of reading with children at the Edmonds Library. (My Edmonds News file photo)

Just this week with his first book report looming, my youngest son’s occupational therapist/tutor gave us a recommendation for a book series, My Weird School, and its first edition, Miss Daisy is Crazy. After searching for it on Sno-Isle.org, I placed a hold and had it in hand no more than two days later — it was actually a hit and there are a ton of books in the series.

My oldest son has always been a big reader and enforcing the nightly school reading requirements is not something I remember arguing with him about — it’s plausible I’m forgetting, evidenced by the fact that I can’t always call the people in my house using their actual name as the first option. My youngest son is dyslexic and from the beginning, which was a DVD of Leapfrog Letter Factory followed Bob Books in our house, the experience was different.

Because October is Dyslexia Awareness Month, I’ll take a quick sidebar to say that if you are concerned your child is dyslexic, the shortest comment I have on a subject I can’t winnow down enough to cover in a column now close to two years after our diagnosis. Check out this list of “37 Common Traits” of dyslexia, many which are surprising and explained a whole lot for us, and a great first step is to share your concerns with your pediatrician. Being as there are many options and layers to enjoying books and stories — Sno-Isle offers audio books for devices or old-fashioned CDs — I thought I’d share some events that could be fun for voracious readers, reluctant readers, and the 20 percent of the population that are dyslexic who may fit into either category.

My kids love Reading with Rover at the Edmonds Library, which is where kids take turns reading to dogs. It’s been shown to create “an increased comfort in reading aloud” and is “cool because dogs don’t judge when kids read aloud.” In kindergarten, the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems sustained interest and had the nice spacing and low word count my kid could manage. When we thought we just needed to get him out of his shell a bit, we took him to Reading with Rover and he and a friend picked a part, Elephant or Piggie, and read the book like a play. I credit Reading with Rover for confidence gained that year as he read to sweet dogs and their supportive owners. If you are interested in Reading with Rover, the next event is Saturday, Oct. 13 from 11 a.m. to noon. More information on the event can be found HERE.

The Edmonds Library, at 650 Main St., has another early literacy event this month, of course along with their many weekly story times available for infants to preschoolers. On Friday, Oct. 19 from 2 to 2:45 p.m., Puppets Please, an in-the-round marionette show, will be at the Edmonds Library. “Colorful animal characters sing and dance, roller skate, and chat face-to-face with the audience,” who the library suggests are 5 and up. You can find more information on the Facebook Event Page the library has made for the event.

The Barnes & Noble in Lynnwood, at the corner of Alderwood Mall Parkway and 196th Street Southwest, has a Saturday Storytime each weekend in October on their calendar. The Oct. 13 “Storytime and Activities” features I Lost My Tooth by the aforementioned Mo Willems. Barnes & Noble also has author events, and in exciting news for more than one kid I know, Kazu Kibuishi, author of the Amulet graphic novels, will be at Barnes and Noble, Saturday, Oct 20 at 1 p.m., with his latest installment in the series, Supernova. My favorite thing about Barnes & Noble is if you sign up for the kids club card, which as far as I remember was free, you get a free treat for your kid’s birthday. You can find more information on either event on BarnesandNoble.com.

In another quick sidebar, graphic novels are something my dyslexic reader has an easier time with. Kyle Redford, in an article for the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, said, “The brilliant thing about the graphic novel is the way they offer dyslexic readers several different cues to the story.” He adds that graphic novels are the “grand equalizers” and “invite all levels of readers” into the reading conversations in their 5th grade class.

The Edmonds Bookshop also has a children’s book author event on deck. Saturday, Nov. 10, from noon – 1 p.m., they will welcome Kelly Jones and her brand new book, Are You Ready to Hatch an Unusual Chicken? The book, for middle grade readers, is a “laugh-out-loud” sequel to Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer. You can find more information on this and other Edmonds Bookshop events HERE.

OK, one more. Earlier this year, SB 6162 was signed in to law in Washington State. This “Dyslexia Bill” means, among other things, that by the 2021-22 school year there will be dyslexia screenings for students in kindergarten through second grade in Washington state. If you are new to finding out your child is dyslexic or if you find out once your child is a part of these screenings, there are various organizations and groups on Facebook. They provide information, resources or a place to just talk it out as you navigate having a child who learns differently than the majority of their class. The website I can’t recommend enough, which covers not only dyslexia but many other learning differences, is Understood.org.

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.

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